Major cryptocurrency trading platform Crypto.com accidentally sent a woman $10.5 million instead of the $100 refund she requested – and didn’t notice until seven months later.
Now the platform is trying to recover its money, $1.35 million of which the woman, Thevamanogari Manivel, used to buy her sister a home in the Melbourne suburb of Craigieburn.
The embarrassing set of circumstances was triggered by a clerical error, according to the judgement, “after an account number was accidentally entered into the payment amount field”.
Just like that, Crypto.com transferred the amount of $10,474,143 into Manivel’s Commonwealth Bank account and didn’t notice until an audit just before Christmas last year.
Crypto.com is a major sponsor of the Australian Football League (AFL) and is partnering with a local service station chain to bring cryptocurrency payments to everyday purchases.
Details of the extraordinary case were laid bare in a Supreme Court of Victoria judgement last week after Crypto.com – using its Australian name Foris – petitioned to have the Craigieburn house sold and the $1.35 million returned with interest.
Judge James Elliot ordered in favour of Crypto.com after Manivel’s sister, who lives in Malaysia, failed to appear in front of the court.
Since discovering wrongful payment in late December, Crypto.com has been racing around trying to get its $10 million back from the various people Manivel sent it to, including her daughter who received $430,000, and a joint account she shared with her partner.
By early February, Crypto.com’s representatives were sheepishly calling the Commonwealth Bank to get Manivel’s accounts frozen, only to learn “the bulk of the wrongful payment” had been moved to other accounts they then needed to track down.
Crypto.com then sought to freeze those other bank accounts and claw back its money before discovering $1.35 million was sitting in a Craigieburn property.
To make matters worse for the cryptocurrency platform, Manivel’s sister generally ignored correspondence from Crypto.com’s lawyers when they started asking for the money used to buy the house.
Lawyers sent emails to her, tried to serve her with documents at the Craigieburn address, they posted documents them to her address in Malaysia – but Manivel’s sister never responded.
Because she never appeared in court, Crypto.com’s lawyers had to prove they had tried everything to get in contact with the sister – which included admitting to spelling her name wrong in early paperwork.
The company has declined to comment on the case which is due to continue in October.