US Justice Department Cracks Down on Crypto Scammers, Seizing $9 Million in Tether.
November 22, 2023: In a significant blow to cryptocurrency scammers, the U.S. Department of Justice has seized nearly $9 million worth of Tether (USDT), a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar. The confiscated funds were allegedly linked to a criminal organization that targeted victims through an elaborate “pig butchering” scam.
Unmasking the Pig Butchering Scam:
The “pig butchering” scam, also known as a “romance scam,” involves fraudsters building fake online relationships with victims over time, gaining their trust, and eventually convincing them to invest in fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes. The scammers created fake investment websites and convinced victims to transfer their Tether holdings to these platforms.
Justice Department’s Intervention:
The Justice Department’s seizure of the $9 million in Tether marks a significant step in combating cryptocurrency-related scams. The investigation, led by the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, tracked victim deposits that were laundered through various cryptocurrencies, a technique known as “chain hopping.”
Tether, the issuer of the USDT stablecoin, cooperated with the Justice Department’s investigation, freezing the $9 million in funds upon request. This cooperation highlights the growing collaboration between law enforcement agencies and cryptocurrency companies to combat cybercrimes.
Impact on Cryptocurrency Scams:
The Justice Department’s actions serve as a stark warning to cryptocurrency scammers, demonstrating that law enforcement is actively pursuing and dismantling these illicit operations. The seizure of the $9 million in Tether is a significant step towards protecting investors and safeguarding the integrity of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.