Cryptocurrency theft isn’t uncommon, but when it happened to Andrew Schober in 2018, he went all out to find the perpetrators. Now that he’s found them, he’s suing their parents to reclaim his funds.
In 2018, Schober amassed 16.4 Bitcoin which was worth nearly $1 million at the time. Schober downloaded the Electrum Atom wallet application, but it turned out to be malicious software that scans the victim’s computer for “copy and paste” content when it was activated.
When a user copies a cryptocurrency address to the system clipboard, the malware replaces the payment destination with a different address so that the funds get transferred to the hacker’s wallet.
In Schober’s case, he was trying to move his funds from one wallet to another and the malware replaced his copied wallet key with the hacker’s own code.
Tracking Down The Suspect
Schober lost 95% of his crypto assets. Feeling enraged, he spent $10,000 on lawyers and private investigators to trace the stolen funds, eventually leading them to two teenagers residing in the United Kingdom.
They found the stolen Bitcoin by tracking the cryptocurrency exchanges and even discovered that one of the perpetrators posted a message on Github asking for help to access the private key, a few hours before Schober’s Bitcoin was stolen.
Not wanting any more problems, Schober wrote to the teenagers’ parents explaining the situation and asking them to return the stolen 16.4552 BTC.
In his letter he wrote:
“As his parents, I am appealing to you to first give him the chance to make this right, without involving law enforcement. Your son is obviously a very intelligent young man. I do not wish for him to be robbed of his future.”
“He might have thought he was playing a harmless joke, but it has had serious consequences for my life.”
At that time, Bitcoin’s price has already risen over 600%.
A portion of Schober’s letter to the perpetrator’s parents.
The Parents Knew But Did Nothing
Schober sent the letter in 2018 and another one in 2019, however, the parents didn’t respond. In May 2021, Schober decided to file a lawsuit against the parents, seeking not only legal fees, court costs but as well as compensation fees.
The perpetrator’s parents finally broke the silence, arguing to the court that the incident occurred three years ago and Schober has run out of time to prosecute but did not deny that their sons, who are now Computer Science students at a UK University, were involved in the malicious crime.
In response, Schober’s attorneys point out that ‘the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of both the existence and cause of his injury.’
It’s unclear who has the upper hand in this case, and Schober has requested a jury trial. If he loses, he will have lost over a million dollars; but if he wins, the amount of damages he receives will likely depend on what happened to the Bitcoin these teenagers took.
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