Steve Wozniak and 17 Fraud Victims Sue YouTube and Google Over Fraudulent "Bitcoin Giveaway" Scam
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple and renowned tech entrepreneur, filed a lawsuit today against YouTube and Google in connection with a Bitcoin Giveaway scam that has persisted on YouTube for many months. Wozniak is joined in the Complaint by 17 individuals from various countries who were victims of the fraud.
As alleged in the Complaint, the Bitcoin Giveaway scam uses images and video of Steve Wozniak, and other celebrities including Elon Musk and Bill Gates, to convince YouTube users that they are hosting a live Bitcoin Giveaway event and that, for a limited time, any user who sends in their cryptocurrency will receive twice as much back. When users transfer their cryptocurrency, nothing is returned.
As alleged, YouTube and Google ignored repeated requests to take the scam videos down failed to protect its users, and knowingly promoted and profited from the scam by, among other things, providing targeted advertising. The complaint alleges that Steve Wozniak’s reputation has been and continues to be harmed by the Fraud.
Steve Wozniak said after filing the Complaint:
"If YouTube had acted quickly to stop this to a reasonable extent, we would not be here now. YouTube, like Google, seems to rely on algorithms and no special effort requiring custom software employed quickly in these cases of criminal activity. If a crime is being committed, you MUST be able to reach humans capable of stopping it. What human would see posts like these and not ban them as criminal immediately?"
According to Joe Cotchett, one of the lawyers representing Steve Wozniak and the fraud victims:
"When Twitter was hit with a massive hack of 130 celebrity accounts, they were quick to shut down the Bitcoin scam in a day. In a stark contrast, the Complaint alleges that YouTube knowingly allowed the Bitcoin scam to go on for months promoted it and profited from it by selling targeted advertising."
According to Brian Danitz, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, and one of the lawyers representing Steve Wozniak and the fraud victims:
"The scope of the Bitcoin Giveaway scam at YouTube is vast and it’s still going on. The fraud victims bringing this Complaint come from around the world, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, Malaysia, China, and all over Europe. The Complaint alleges tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency have been lost in this scam which could have been prevented by YouTube."
Julia Peng, a lawyer at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy stated, “Steve Wozniak and the victims of this fraud seek to hold YouTube responsible for its actions as it affects so many people around the world.”
Steve Wozniak and the 17 fraud victims named in the Complaint are represented by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP in Burlingame, California. In bringing this lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs from around the world, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy worked closely in collaboration with Alex Naray, a prominent lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland.