Indian Man Pleads Guilty to Creating Spoofed Coinbase Website, Stealing $9.5M in Crypto

According to court documents, Chirag Tomar used his ill-gotten gains to buy Rolexes, Lamborghinis, Porches and more.

AccessTimeIconApr 19, 2024 at 10:24 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 19, 2024 at 10:40 p.m. UTC
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An Indian citizen pleaded guilty this week to U.S. charges that he created a fake version of Coinbase's website, letting him steal login credentials on the real thing and plunder more than $9.5 million of cryptocurrency from hundreds of victims.

Chirag Tomar, 30, was arrested at the Atlanta airport on Dec. 20, 2023, while visiting family on a travel visa. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Both carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Tomar’s case was first flagged by Seamus Hughes of CourtWatch.

According to court documents filed in the Western District of North Carolina, Tomar and his co-conspirators created a fake version of Coinbase Pro’s website to fool Coinbase customers to fork over their login info. Between at least June 2021 and Tomar’s arrest in late 2023, at least 542 victims were scammed out of their crypto.

Court documents show that the U.S. Secret Service was able to identify Tomar as a member of the crime ring because he used an email account in his real name to communicate with known and unknown co-conspirators in the fraud. He also kept a spreadsheet of his victims and how much had been stolen from each and sent “stolen or fraudulently obtained” identity documents to other email addresses used to open up accounts at Binance, another cryptocurrency exchange.

Between June 2021 and October 2022, Tomar made internet searches for “fake coinbase page,” “coinbase scam,” “scams in the USA,” and “how to take money from coinbase without OTP.”

Tomar used the same email address to apply for his travel visa to the U.S.

Using the proceeds of his fraud, Tomar funded a lavish lifestyle, purchasing Rolex and Audemars Piguet watches, “high-end luxury vehicles such as Lamborghinis and Porches,” and traveling to London, Dubai and Thailand.

Tomar has not yet been sentenced.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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