A Vancouver, British Columbia-based marketing firm recently accused one of its senior executives and shareholders of stealing cryptocurrencies worth up to $5.5 million.
Shair.com accuses a senior executive of the theft
Marketing firm Shair.com Global Digital Services filed a lawsuit against Jason Arnold, who previously serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the company for stealing cryptocurrencies worth up to a speculative value of $5.3 million.
According to the lawsuit filed by the marketing firm, Arnold allegedly preyed on the ignorance of his employer regarding cryptocurrencies to walk away with digital assets worth potentially millions of dollars.
Arnold had claimed that when his laptop ‘died’, the digital assets belonging to the firm were lost. The Supreme Court of British Columbia in August issued a notice to Arnold into hand over the laptop regardless of its current state.
According to the marketing firm, its decision to invest in cryptocurrencies came towards the end of 2013 after the defendant promoted himself as the most knowledgeable in the firm with regards to digital assets.
The truth uncovered
In the earlier parts of 2014, Arnold informed his employers that he had successfully created a Bitcoin wallet as well as a paper back up and a digital backup on the company’s Citrix server.
Arnold was given about $14,000 to buy Bitcoin between June and August of the same year. Given the average price of around $600 per Bitcoin, this would be an estimated 18-22 BTC. According to the lawsuit:
” It appears that some of that Bitcoin was then subsequently used to purchase a different form of digital currency known as Whitecoin
If Arnold had invested the entirety of the Bitcoin into Whitecoin (XWC), the theft would be valued close to $5.3 million. This was determined after an investigation conducted by a digital currency consultant hired by the plaintiff.
Justice Skolrood wrote in his ruling:
“The investigation was unable to determine the current location or value of digital currencies owned by the plaintiff, but the plaintiff alleges that the [C]$18,500 in Bitcoin purchased by it in June and August 2014, if it remained in Bitcoin, would have a current value of approximately [C]$225,000…. Had all that Bitcoin been converted to Whitecoin, the current value would be approximately $5.3 million US.”
In course of the investigation, it was also discovered the fact that the defendant had acquired Bitcoin on behalf of the marketing firm as early as January 2014, without informing the plaintiff of this development.
No Laptop, no digital asset
It was not until December 2017 that the marketing firm discovered that the company-issued laptop to Arnold had not been returned.
The firm also found out that there was no backup of the Bitcoin wallet on the company’s Citrix server as Arnold had promised.
Although Arnold left his position at the marketing firm in April 2017, he remains a shareholder in Shair.Com Global Digital Services.
Current state of the case
Following the evidence presented by the investigation, Arnold’s assets worth $2.3 million including a boat, two all-terrain vehicles, two cars, a plot of land and three homes have been seized.
Despite an application from the firm to free the assets of Arnold, Justice Skolrood turned down the plaintiff’s prayer, with both parties now waiting for the final verdict to be taken by the court.