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Indian man found guilty for stealing millions in crypto using fake Coinbase site

A 30 year old Indian male confessed he stole over 37 million dollar in crypto through a spoofing scheme of the Coinbase website.

Coinbase, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange platform, offers a ‘Pro’ version of its website at Pro.Coinbase.com. The defendant and his co-conspirators registered a fake site with a similar sounding name: CoinbasePro.com.

To mislead users, the Indian national made sure the spoofed website had the same look and feel as the authentic one. That way it was hard to discern the fake site from the official one.

As soon as victims entered their login credentials, an authentication process was triggered. In some instances, victims were tricked into providing their login and authentication information of their Coinbase account. Other times, they were asked to download an install remote desktop software, which enabled the fraudsters to gain access of victims’ computers and Coinbase account.

To make the scam even more conceivable, the scammers also impersonated Coinbase customer support. Gullible customers were tricked into providing their two-factor authentication codes over the phone. Once the fraudsters had control over the victims’ Coinbase accounts, they quickly transferred the cryptocurrency in the victims’ Coinbase wallet to wallets they controlled.

Suspect looking at 20 years in prison

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is confident that the Indian man and his co-conspirators stole more than 37 million dollar in cryptocurrency from hundreds of victims around the world and the United States.

The 30 year old suspect admitted in court he controlled several cryptocurrency wallets and that he received hundreds of transactions of cryptocurrency stolen from victims’ Coinbase accounts.

Ultimately, the cryptocurrency was converted into cash and distributed to all participating fraudsters to pay for their luxurious lifestyle. According to the DoJ, they purchased expensive watches, Lamborghinis and Porsches, and made trips to Dubai and Thailand.

The lead suspect pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy. That carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a 250,000 dollar fine. A sentencing data has not been set.

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