A couple reportedly embarked on a multi-million dollar buying spree after they received the $10.4 million that was inadvertently sent to an account on Crypto.com and pocketed it.
Jatinder Singh waved and mouthed the words “I love you” to his 40-year-old spouse Thevamanogari Manivel, who police claim he stole the money from. They are both accused of stealing the millions that Crypto.com inadvertently placed into her account.
On Tuesday, they both made videolink appearances in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court from different jail cells.
If proven guilty of stealing the money from the Commonwealth Bank, where Crypto.com accidentally moved the money, the two may spend up to 20 years in prison each.
The court was informed that $1 million in assets and $2 million in cash are still missing.
Manivel, a Malaysian citizen studying in Australia on a student visa, was caught up at Melbourne Airport with a bag full of belongings, wads of cash, and a one-way ticket to Malaysia, according to Detective Senior Constable Conor Healy.
The investigator said that she had previously sent $4 million to a Malaysian HSBC bank account, of which $2 million was subsequently refunded. The other $2 million, however, was rapidly moved to unidentified accounts.
The court was informed that the illegally obtained funds had been used to buy four homes, all of which had been frozen by the Supreme Court as part of an ongoing civil case brought there by Crypto.com.
$8 million, according to Senior Constable Healy, allegedly disappeared from Manivel’s account between December 24 and February.
Out of that, $1.2 million was used to purchase a mansion in Craigieburn, and $56,000 was used as a down payment on a residence in Mickleham.
According to the police, Manivel showered her daughters with presents, allegedly giving one $500,000, another $430,000, and a third $200,000 in total.
She spent a further $70,000 on a vehicle for her Melbourne-based daughter, and she gave one of Singh’s friends $1.2 million to pay off the mortgage on a Mickleham house.
The remainder is supposedly spent on expensive furniture, artwork, and other goods.
Earlier last month, the ideal house had weeds all around it and seemed to be abandoned.
According to testimony given in court, Singh regularly traded cryptocurrencies, amassing $49,000 in his Crypto.com wallet using his debit card.
The $10,474,143 error wasn’t found until shortly before last Christmas, when Crypto.com conducted a business audit.
The business reportedly tried to repay Manivel $100 after discovering that Singh had continued to use his account for trading.
Singh failed to affirm he wanted to use his partner’s account, which led to the refund, according to a Crypto.com manager who testified in court that it was rare for a trader to not use his own account.
An employee operating out of Bulgaria for a Melbourne firm outsourced to Crypto.com made the error when she unintentionally copied and pasted the account number of her prior employment into the reimbursement amount going back to Manivel’s account.
Within hours of the couple learning about the money, according to the police, it was transferred out of Manivel’s account.
Nearly a year after the error was discovered, Singh told authorities that he thought he had “won” the money in a “Crypto.com contest.”
The court was told Singh, according to Manivel, tricked her into thinking the money was hers to do with as she liked.
Singh did not request bail on Tuesday, but Manivel is still in the process of doing so.
Manivel’s readmission back into society has been resisted by the police because they believe she has the ability to vanish.
With a $10,000 surety, her brother wants to free her.
Manivel’s attorney, Jessica Willard, previously told the court that her client was unaware that the money could have been stolen.
Whether Ms. Manivel was aware that the money was stolen or not is the crux of the entire problem, according to Ms. Willard.
When Manivel was arrested in March, she persisted on telling police that her co-accused had “earned the money,” the court heard.
When investigators ultimately knocked on Singh’s door, Singh made identical claims.
That’s what he states in his interview record as well, Ms. Willard said.
The couple was notified, according to Commonwealth Bank representatives, that the money had been transmitted in error.
The majority of the information concerning the case comes from a civil lawsuit brought by Crypto.com, which advertised with megastars like Matt Damon and allegedly spent $25 million on AFL and AFLW sponsorship agreements.
In an attempt to recover its funds from Manivel, lawyers working on behalf of the corporation have lodged documentation with the Supreme Court of Victoria.
A second irony is that Thilagavathy Gangadory, the sister of Manivel, is a party to the Supreme Court civil litigation.
According to documents, $1.35 million had already been spent on a mansion when Crypto.com attempted to recover its funds from Manivel, and the remaining funds had been transferred to other accounts.
Before Crypto.com was able to issue freezing orders against Ms Gangadory in March, the home registration had already been transferred to the Malaysian resident.
Despite Ms. Gangadory being named in the civil lawsuit, it is thought that no criminal charges have been brought against her by the police.
When Daily Mail Australia visited the “Crypto mansion” earlier this month, it was covered in tall, unsightly weeds and had other clear signs of neglect.
May of last year saw a sharp decrease in the price of cryptocurrencies at the time the mistake occurred.
The Herald Sun stated at the time that the Craigieburn house, which features four bathrooms, a home gym, and a theater, was purchased on February 3.
Four days later, Crypto.com issued orders to freeze Manivel’s bank account, but according to court records, $10.1 million had already been transferred to another joint account, and $430,000 had been sent to Manivel’s daughter.
After that, the corporation filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court to recover the cost of the home plus 10% interest.
Since neither Ms. Gangadory nor her attorneys showed up in court or filed a defense, the case was won by default.
The Craigieburn mansion had to be sold, and Justice James Dudley Elliott ordered Ms. Gangadory to pay Crypto.com $1.35 million, $27,369 in interest, and charges.
As he delivered his ruling, Mr. Elliott said, “It is shown that the Craigieburn property was obtained using monies traceable to the fraudulent payment and would never have been in Gangadory’s hands if the wrongful payment had not been made.”
So, by obtaining the Craigieburn property’s purchase price from the erroneous payment, Gangadory was unfairly benefited.
The orders pertaining to the sale of the Craigieburn property were, in my opinion, appropriate.
The matter was heard by the commercial division of the Victorian Supreme Court in May, but Justice Elliott’s decision wasn’t made public until last month.
Justice Elliott said that since Ms. Gangadory was not represented in court, “references to the facts of this case based on such uncontested evidence are unavoidably susceptible to attack if Gangadory ever moves to set aside the default decision.”
In addition, the judge stated that she “has not responded to any of the correspondence from (Crypto.com’s) solicitors” and that “the effect of not filing an appearance is that the allegations in the statement of claim are taken to be admitted” due to her lack of appearance.
According to reports, separate orders have been issued for the remaining funds sent to Manivel.
The legal counsel for Crypto.com, Cornwalls Law, informed Daily Mail Australia that it was unable to comment because the case was pending in court.