A Canadian man alleged to have conned an Oregonian woman out of $230,000 worth of Bitcoin BTC is being held in prison so that he doesn’t flee the US to Canada.
US Attorney Quinn Harrington said they were concerned that the perpetrator would flee and then fight extradition. The accused, Karanjit Singh Khatkar, purportedly made two phone calls to his brother advising him to stay out of the US to avoid arrest, Oregon Live reports.
“[The] defendant told his brother to stay in Canada because he knows he can delay or avoid justice there,” Harrington said to the court.
In one of the phone calls, Khatkar reportedly told his brother to hold off coming to the United States; “it’s not going to be that bad, as long as you don’t come right now.” That said, he did later advise his brother to come should he receive a summons.
Given that indiscretion, it doesn’t look good for the brothers. Khatkar and his sibling are accused of stealing 23 Bitcoin, according to the report this was worth $140,000 at the time and could be worth over $250,000 today.
They stole the funds from a 60-year-old woman from Oregon by creating a fake Twitter account that impersonated a Bitcoin exchange. The victim was apparently tricked into contacting the fake Twitter account when seeking help to access her account.
The perpetrators then used her email address to gain access to her cryptocurrency account on the exchange they were impersonating.
According to the report, the court heard that the defendant shared the proceeds of the crime with his brother, who is now a co-defendant in the investigation.
Thing is, the defendant has family in Sacramento so could remain in the US pending trial. What’s more, he’s surrendered his travel documents so couldn’t legally enter Canada. Khatkar is allegedly also willing to pay a $50,000 bail bond to secure his release before his trial.
But alas, it was not granted and the defendant must remain in custody until trial next year in late January.
Despite the charges, Khatkar has pleaded not guilty.
The brothers’ scam is not particularly unique. Cryptocurrency scammers have been using Twitter to impersonate legitimate firms for years now.