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US Department of Justice Takes Action Against $2.3 Million ‘Pig Butchering’ Scam

The U.S. Department of Justice has taken legal action to confiscate $2.3 million in cryptocurrency, which is linked to an intricate “pig butchering” scam. As outlined in the official statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, authorities have initiated a civil forfeiture case to reclaim the funds associated with a purported romance scam that targeted a resident of Massachusetts.

$2.3 Million “Pig Butchering” Romance Scheme

The probe into this scheme commenced in the spring of 2023, revealing that the Massachusetts resident, along with others, was duped into falling victim to this fraud. The victim was tricked into transferring over $400,000 into a cryptocurrency wallet.

This incident was part of a broader pattern of deceitful activities that have entrapped 37 individuals nationwide, resulting in the confiscation of cryptocurrency from two Binance accounts in January 2024.

Described as “pig butchering” scams, these schemes entail scammers establishing trust online before persuading victims to invest in fraudulent endeavors, resulting in significant financial and emotional harm.

“Specifically, the government aims to seize 299,457.4 USD Coin (USDC), 1,455,305.997648 Tether (USDT), 102,278.515015 Tron (TRX), 3,032.1689461 Solana (SOL), 67.79400436 Binance Coin (BNB), 13,703.955431 Cardano (ADA), and 0.54151495 Ether (ETH) from two accounts,” states the press release.

“Combined, these cryptocurrencies are currently valued at approximately $2,300,000,” concluded the DOJ.

The document asserts that the confiscated crypto stemmed from wire fraud activities and was involved in money laundering, rendering it subject to forfeiture.

Civil forfeiture procedures allow third parties with potential claims to the contested property to step forward. These claims must be resolved before the assets can be officially forfeited to the U.S. government and subsequently distributed to the victims of the scam.

Crypto Investment Scam Losses Increase by 53%

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) disclosed that investment losses linked to cryptocurrencies escalated from $2.57 billion in 2022 to around $3.94 billion in 2023, signaling a notable surge of 53%.

These losses accounted for the majority of investment fraud nationwide, comprising approximately 86% of the total investment fraud losses, which amounted to $4.57 billion for the year.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

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