Skip to content

Man Steals $9.5M in Crypto Through Fake Coinbase Pro Website, Buys Lambos, Pleads Guilty

Indian citizen Chirag Tomar pled guilty to stealing $9.5 million in crypto from 542 victims through his fake Coinbase Pro website

Table of Contents

A man has pleaded guilty in the US to creating a fake version of Coinbase Pro's website, through which he stole $9.5 million of cryptocurrency from hundreds of victims.

Chirag Tomar, 30, was arrested at the Atlanta airport on 20 December 2023 and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Both offences carry a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

The Indian citizen and his partners created the fake website based on Coinbase Pro to trick customers into handing over their login information, according to the Western District of North Carolina.

Coinbase Pro was an advance product offered by Coinbase that charged between 0% and 0.60% for makers and takers. In June 2022, Coinbase said it would replace Coinbase Pro with Coinbase Advanced Trade.

542 victims were scammed through the fake website between June 2021 and late 2023. Between June 2021 and October 2022, Tomar made numerous internet searches for “fake coinbase page,” “coinbase scam,” “scams in the USA,” and “how to take money from coinbase without OTP.”

Tomar was identified after he used an email account with his real name to communicate with his co-conspirators. The same email address was used to apply for his travel visa to the US.

He also kept a spreadsheet of his victims and details about the amounts stolen. Identity information from the customers was used to create accounts on Binance.

Tomar used the stolen funds to buy Rolexes, Audemars Piguet, Lamborghinis, Porsches and other luxury items.

Crypto Crimes Surprisingly Went Down Last Year, Even Excluding FTX
Crypto crimes were higher in 2022 than in 2023, even without FTX’s help

Illicit crypto activity and scams went down in 2023, even putting aside the FTX scandal.

Excerpts from a Chainalysis report detail how crypto scamming and hacking fell 29.2% and 54.3% respectively. 

Stolen cryptocurrency accounted for 0.34% of total on-chain transactions in 2023, totalling $24.2 billion. The previous year's stolen crypto totalled $39.6 billion, representing 0.42% of total on-chain transactions.

Blockcast EP 16 | Crypto Crime Insights From TRM Labs’ Senior Policy Advisor, Angela Ang
From working at MAS to helping law enforcement, TRM Labs’ Angela Ang gives us the lowdown on catching crypto criminals