California resident Michael Terpin has filed a lawsuit against telecommunications firm AT&T, alleging that the company’s negligence caused him to suffer cryptocurrency losses totaling about $24 million. He filed the complaint in a Los Angeles District Court on Wednesday, according to a report from CNBC that noted the full scope of damages sought by the plaintiff:
Terpin, who co-founded an angel group for bitcoin investors called BitAngels in 2013 and a digital currency fund, BitAngels/Dapps Fund, is seeking $200 million in punitive damages and $24 million of compensatory damages from AT&T.
The plaintiff’s complaint argues that an AT&T “insider” cooperated with the thief by providing his phone number to the hacker at an AT&T store without properly verifying the thief's identity by asking for his account password or even a proper I.D. Terpin claims that the hacker used that phone number to gain access to his digital currency accounts and execute the theft.
"What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.”
AT&T reportedly provided a statement denying the complaint’s allegations. The company said that it is looking forward to making its case in court.