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Cyber Scam: Seizure of Nearly $9M in Crypto

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There’s a growing correlation between crypto and criminal offenses these days. The Justice Department has released a new case this week.

The Justice Department announced today the seizure of nearly $9 million worth of Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar. These seized funds were traced to cryptocurrency addresses allegedly associated with an organization that exploited over 70 victims through romance scams and cryptocurrency confidence scams, which are widely known as “pig butchering.”

The department said that through this significant seizure, it disrupted the financial infrastructure of an organized network of scammers who stole millions from victims across the United States.

It also reports that these scammers prey on ordinary investors by creating websites that tell victims their investments are working to make them money. The truth is that these international criminal actors are simply stealing cryptocurrency and leaving victims with nothing.”

“The department hopes this recovery of assets will bring some closure and a sense of justice to the over 70 victims affected by this series of scams. This seizure should also serve as a reminder to cybercriminals that, although the current landscape of the cryptocurrency ecosystem may seem like an ideal way to launder ill-gotten gains, law enforcement will continue to develop the expertise needed to follow the money and seize it back for victims.”

According to court documents, criminal actors worked together to target victims and convince them to make cryptocurrency deposits by fraudulently representing that the victims were making investments with trusted firms and cryptocurrency exchanges.

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In reality, the purported firms and cryptocurrency exchanges were non-existent trading platforms.

“This seizure is the culmination of the exceptional hard work and collaborative partnership between the Justice Department and the United States Secret Service,” said U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California. “Silicon Valley remains one of the world’s preeminent locations for cryptocurrency firms. As such, we remain dedicated to using all tools at our disposal to bring justice to the victims of frauds and scams. Even when money and criminals are abroad, we will work with our partners to seize cyber criminals’ illegal proceeds.”

“This seizure exemplifies the Secret Service’s mission to protect the financial infrastructure of the United States. We remain determined and vigilant to combat cyber-enabled financial fraud,” said Special Agent in Charge Shawn Bradstreet of the USSS San Franscisco Field Office. “It is a priority for the Secret Service to protect the financial security that citizens work so hard to obtain. We want to thank the Justice Department for their partnership, dedication, and outstanding work on this case.”

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