The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) states: April 3 announced that it had seized $112 million worth of digital assets related to a crypto investment scam.
DOJ seizes millions of dollars in crypto
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. said authorities would return seized funds to victims and work to raise public awareness, writing:
“These particularly egregious scams, in which scammers take time and careful building relationships with their victims, destroy families and claim the lives of individuals.”
In related scams, perpetrators gradually gained the trust of victims through social networks, dating sites, phone calls, text messages, and similar means of communication. Ultimately, the perpetrators persuaded their targets to invest in fake cryptocurrency platforms before pouring the stolen funds into their own addresses.
The DOJ said this type of fraud is called “Sha Zhu Pan,” a Chinese phrase meaning “slaughter of pigs.” Most of the victims were between the ages of 30 and 49.
The agency has seized six cryptocurrency accounts in three states with licenses from the Districts of Arizona, Central California, and Idaho. The seized cryptocurrency accounts were allegedly used to launder money from the above scam.
The Broad Role of the Department of Justice in Cryptocrime
The DOJ noted that cryptocurrency scams involving pig slaughter schemes will grow 183% between 2021 and 2022, with $2.57 billion in stolen funds. It accounted for most of the fraud reported to the FBI’s Online Crime Center, totaling $3.31 billion.
The agency has also seized cryptocurrencies on other occasions: in November 2022, it reported the seizure of 50,000 BTC tied to Silk Road, worth $1.05 billion at the time. In February 2022, 94,000 BTC was seized in connection with the Bitfinex theft, worth $3.6 billion at the time. The FBI, an agency within the DOJ, seized $260,000 of his assets, including NFTs, in February 2023.
DOJ also takes direct action against certain cryptocurrency projects and associated individuals. Most recently, it has targeted CoinMixer, Terra, Bitzlato, and the OneCoin scam brood led by “Crypto Queen” Ruja Ignatova.
A post about the DOJ seizing $112 million related to a cryptocurrency scheme first appeared on CryptoSlate.