Long-running arbitration reality TV show Judge Judy featured a case earlier this week involving a bitcoin trader and allegations of payment fraud.
The episode, dated 12th November, concerns a man named Dan Haahr who claimed to have been defrauded while trying to purchase a truck over eBay.
Haahr, who sought $2,000 in damages, alleged Marlon Koland of being part of a scheme to steal his money – a charge Koland, a bitcoin trader from Oregon, denied.
Haahr claimed that those behind the scam created a fictitious eBay front through which a bank account number tied to Koland was provided. He said he confirmed that the seller he spoke with was a fraud after speaking with a legitimate eBay representative.
Koland said that he was innocent. He claimed that had been scammed by someone who claimed to want to buy bitcoins from him. The bank account information that he provided, he said, was later used to solicit funds from Haahr. As a result, it appeared on paper that his bank account was tied to the fraud that targeted Haahr.
Adjudicator Judith "Judy" Sheindlin, a former New York prosecutor and Manhattan family courts judge, ultimately sided with Haahr. During the episode, she conceded that she doesn’t understand bitcoin, declaring:
“Mr. Koland says that he, too, was a victim. He was trying to deal with something called bitcoin, which I don't’ understand. If you tried to explain it to me from today to tomorrow I still wouldn’t get it.”
Sheindlin drew contention with the fact that Koland had no proof to back his claim that his bank account – which he conceded had been open for about a month – was closed due to fraud problems. In the end, she awarded Haahr the $2,000 in damages.
It’s important to note that Judge Judy isn’t a real court of law. The hearings constitute a binding arbitration and any penalties assessed are paid for by the show rather than those on the losing end.
Yet the episode does, perhaps, shine a light on how judges with little understanding of bitcoin oversee personal cases involving the digital currency.
The fully Haahr vs. Koland segment can be viewed below:
Hat tip: Reddit
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