Canadian brothers plead guilty to Bitcoin scheme

December 17, 2019 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two Canadian brothers pleaded guilty Monday to duping an Oregonian woman out of over $140,000 worth of bitcoin currency.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Jagroop Singh Khatkar surrendered to federal authorities for the negotiated plea agreement and appeared with his brother, Karanjit Singh Khatkhar, before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon in federal court in Portland.

The brothers, of Surrey, British Columbia, each pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

Under the plea agreement, the government will recommend each serve two years in prison.

FBI agents arrested Karanjit Khatkar July 18 at in Las Vegas after he arrived there from Canada. The older brother didn’t turn himself in until Monday.

The two brothers stole about 23 bitcoin, worth about $140,000 at the time yet over $160,000 today, from a Gresham woman after they created a fake Twitter account to impersonate the Hong Kong-based HitBTC bitcoin exchange.

They tricked the woman into contacting the Twitter account for support and got her to provide her email address which they used to take over her account at the bitcoin exchange, according to prosecutors.

With access to her account, Karanjit Khatkar confirmed transfers of the woman’s bitcoin to his bitcoin exchange account. Then, he shared the proceeds with his brother.