The men scammed an Oregon-based woman into transferring her bitcoins
Two Indian Canadian men have been charged with multiple counts of fraud after they committed bitcoin fraud.
They used Twitter to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency into their bank accounts.
Bitcoin is a digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer network without the need for intermediaries.
The men have been identified as Karanjit Singh Khatkar, aged 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, aged 24.
Both are from Surrey in British Columbia and have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and multiple counts of money laundering.
Karanjit was arrested in July 2019, after arriving at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
The Justice Department said Jagroop was charged in his absence as he is still at large. They believe he is still residing in Canada.
An indictment did not say if the two suspects were related.
The men scammed an Oregon-based woman into transferring over $230,000 worth of bitcoins into their account.
According to the indictment, the bitcoin fraud began in October 2017 and continued up to August 2018.
Karanjit and Jagroop used a bogus Twitter account with the name @HitBTCAssist.
They used the account to trick the woman into thinking that they were speaking with a customer service representative from HitBTC, a Hong Kong-based online platform used to exchange virtual currency.
HitBTC provides its customers with web-based “wallets” so that they can store virtual currency and make transactions.
The men responded to the woman’s questions through the Twitter account. She had asked about withdrawing bitcoins from her HitBTC account.
Karanjit and Jagroop convinced the woman to send them information that they could use to log on and take over her email, HitBTC and Kraken.
Kraken is an online platform based in the United States and it offers services which are similar to HitBTC.
The two men transferred 23.2 bitcoins from the victim’s account into Karanjit’s Kraken account.
Karanjit then transferred around 11.6 of the stolen bitcoins into Jagroop’s Kraken account.
The stolen bitcoins are estimated to be worth $233,220.
After Karanjit was arrested, a US Magistrate Judge in Las Vegas ordered him to remain in custody pending transport by US Marshals to the District of Oregon.
Karanjit appeared in the District of Oregon on August 12, 2019.
On August 20, 2019, he was ordered to be detained until his trial which is set to begin on October 8, 2019, and is expected to last four days.