According to court records on Dec. 16, brothers Jagroop Singh Khatkar and Karanjit Singh Khatkhar pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud over a scam carried out via Twitter in July 2018.
HitBTC victim: “I feel sorry for them”
The case originally came to light in July this year, as per documents filed with the United States District Court in Portland, Oregon.
Posing as the support service for HitBTC, the pair convinced a user, an unnamed 63-year-old woman, to reveal the email address attached to her trading account. They then hacked into the account, stealing 23 BTC, worth around $140,000 at the time.
As per the documents, the Singh Khatkhars “did unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally transfer, possess, and use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another, knowing that the means of identification belonged to a real person.”
At a plea hearing on Monday, the victim took pity on the defendants, having learned she would likely win back possession of the lost funds.
“I feel sorry for them. I have a son that’s 27. I hope they can turn their smarts into something more beneficial,” she reportedly said.
The Singh Khatkhars will return for sentencing next March.
Bitcoin scams continue to surface
The case highlights the persisting trend of bad actors cashing in on cryptocurrency’s increasing mainstream appeal.
The previous few months alone have seen multiple instances of crime associated with the theft of assets, some of which dwarf the Singh Khatkhars’ $140,000 haul.
Earlier in December, police in New Jersey arrested three men associated with an alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme which collected a whopping $722 million.