Thevamanogari Manivel, a Melbourne, Australia-based user of Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com, requested a refund from the company in the sum of $100 in May 2021, when Bitcoin BTC/USD ebbed and flowed between $32,700 and $59,000.
What she received in return would appear to investors as a gain of 10,474,043%. But to Manivel, it simply appeared to be $10,474,143. Now, Crypto.com is attempting to recover the money.
What Happened: According to the Victorian Supreme Court’s judgment of the Manivel case, the unfortunate blunder was an accounting error.
“Instead of refunding $100.00 as intended, $10,474,143.00 was erroneously transferred (“the Wrongful Payment”) to Manivel after an account number was accidentally entered into the payment amount field by a representative of the second plaintiff,” the judgment reads.
It took Crypto.com a stunning seven months to notice the incorrect payment. It wasn’t until the company’s year-end audit on Dec. 23 that the millions missing were found.
But it was already too late. Manivel used the money to enrich her life and the lives of her family without disclosing to Crypto.com that she had received it.
Manviel shifted $10 million of the assets to a joint account she and her sister Thilagavathy Gangadory owned in May 2021, not long after the incorrect transfer.
Later, $430,000 was gifted to Raveena Vijian, Manivel’s daughter.
In Feb. 2022, Manivel purchased a property located at 19 Liewah Circuit, Craigieburn, Australia for a price of $1,350,000. She then transferred registration to Gangadory.
According to realestate.com.au, the home was built in 2021 and has four bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Despite an email response stating that she will get in touch with the court, Gangadory did not appear. According to The Bitcoinist, “after Gangadory had failed to show up in court, Judge James Dudley Elliot ordered that the luxury home be sold and that Gangadory should pay back the crypto exchange $1.35 million with an interest of $27,369.”
Why It Matters: The discovery of the missing funds follows the crypto-crash, which caused numerous companies to file for bankruptcy due to severe liquidity problems. In June, Crypto.com fired 260 (5%) employees as a result of the state of the market. This came after the business spent more than $1.2 billion on various advertising, including Matt Damon’s “fortune favors the brave” commercial that aired in 20 countries.
The company also bought the naming rights to the Staples Center in Los Angeles and re-named it “Crypto.com Arena.”
In Jan. 2021, hackers stole $34 million from the crypto platform, affecting 483 of its users.
The cryptocurrency sector has experienced incorrect payments before. In May 2021, BlockFi — which recently struck an agreement to be acquired by Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX — inadvertently deposited millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin into a number of customer accounts.
Inadvertently, staff processed payments in Bitcoin rather than the stablecoin USDC.