If you’re going to defraud someone out of several hundred thousand bitcoin, maybe don’t also draw undue attention to yourself by publicly claiming to have created the cryptocurrency.
Oh, and you probably shouldn’t make a shitty computer font the linchpin of your scam, either.
And yet despite these precautions being seemingly commonsense, that is exactly what Craig Wright stands accused of doing in a recently filed $10 billion lawsuit. Yes, that’s “billion” with a “B.”
For those of you who haven’t been following the madness that is the world of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was created in 2009 by an unknown individual or group under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. At one point in 2016 Wright asserted that he is, in fact, Nakamoto. However, experts in the field quickly called bull.
That Wright was involved with Bitcoin early on is not in doubt, though, and it’s those early days that are the focus of the federal lawsuit in question. Brought on behalf of the estate of Dave Kleiman, the document alleges that Wright and Kleiman both accumulated huge amounts of bitcoin between 2009 and 2013.
Kleiman, a computer security expert who was allegedly around in Bitcoin’s early days, passed away in 2013, and that’s when — according to the suit — things got fishy.
“At the time of his death, no one in [Kleiman’s] family was aware of the extent of his involvement in creating Bitcoin,” it reads. “Nor were they aware that he had accumulated, with Craig, an incredible sum of bitcoins. Recognizing that Dave’s family and friends weren’t aware of this, Craig perpetrated a scheme against Dave’s estate to seize Dave’s bitcoins and his rights to certain intellectual property associated with the Bitcoin technology.”
And just what did that scheme allegedly involve? Why that would be some good old-fashioned fraud with the help of a little font called Otto.
Image: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
“As part of this plan, Craig forged a series of contracts that purported to transfer Dave’s assets to Craig and/or companies controlled by him,” claims the suit. “Craig backdated these contracts and forged Dave’s signature on them.”
The suit alleges that, upon inspection, the signatures in question differ from Kleiman’s known John Hancock and appear to have been generated with the aforementioned computer font.
As a result of Wright’s so-called fraud, Ira Kleiman — Dave Kleiman’s brother and plaintiff in the case — claims his family was illegitimately deprived of up to 1,100,111 bitcoin. At today’s price, that’s around $11,666,946,682 — though the suit pegs the number at $10,236,532,855.
Ira is demanding that Wright hand over the bitcoin in question or their equivalent worth in USD — plus “court costs, interest, and any other relief this Court deems just and proper.”
Which, yeah. We can’t imagine Wright is stoked about this. In response to a question on Twitter about the suit, he responded that it was only about “Greed.”
Meanwhile, WizSec — a self-proclaimed “group of bitcoin security specialists” — has jumped into the mix with another huge claim: Neither Kleiman nor Wright ever owned any of the bitcoin in question. In other words, it’s scams all the way down.
Which, frankly, sounds a lot like cryptocurrency.