2 Canadians get jail time in US over HitBTC Twitter scam

Two Canadian nationals have been sentenced to prison, following a scam that involved impersonating a customer service Twitter account of digital currency exchange HitBTC.

Karanjit Singh Khatkar, 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, 24, or Surrey, British Columbia, were handed sentences of 24 months in prison plus three years supervised release, in connection with charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

In a statement, the United States Attorney’s Office District of Oregon said the accused used a fraudulent Twitter account to swindle money from unsuspecting investors. The two allegedly tricked the victims “into thinking they were communicating with a customer service representative from HitBTC.”

“Using the fraudulent Twitter account, the defendants responded to the Oregon victim’s questions about withdrawing virtual currency from her HitBTC account. The defendants convinced the victim to send information they could use to log on and take over her email, HitBTC and Kraken accounts,” the authorities said.

According to the charges, the pair transferred some 23.2 BTC from the victim to a wallet belonging to Karanjit Singh Khatkar, who then transferred 11.6 BTC to a wallet belonging to Jagroop Singh Khatkar.

Following the illegal account access, Karanjit Singh Khatkar purchased a Mercedes-Benz for over $56,000, while the pair took trips to high end casinos in Las Vegas.

Karanjit Singh Khatkar was arrested at an airport in June 2019, with Jagroop Singh Khatkar subsequently turning himself in to the authorities. The pair pleaded guilty at trial in December 2019.

The brothers were also ordered to pay over $42,000 in additional fees, alongside a check for $142,349 as a prepayment for restitution.

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