Crypto News, illicit crypto, scam, Silicon Valley, Tether

Federal investigators had confiscated $9 million worth of crypto connected to a Silicon Valley-based cyber scam group that had taken advantage of over 70 victims, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California disclosed on Tuesday.

The intercepted funds were in the form of stablecoin Tether which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, and successfully traced back to addresses that are purportedly linked to an entity engaged in the exploitation of unsuspecting individuals through romance and confidence scams involving cryptocurrencies, commonly referred to as “pig butchering.”

Deceptive Tactics Of The Cyber Fraud Group A pig butchering scam refers to a fraudulent scheme wherein individuals with malicious intent engage in online interactions to establish a sense of confidence with their targets, subsequently persuading them to invest in digital currency platforms.

According to court documents, members of the cyber fraud group tricked their victims into depositing cryptocurrency by pretending to be trusted companies. It was only after that the victims discovered these purported businesses and bitcoin exchanges are fictitious online marketplaces.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri emphasized that these criminals were not generating profits for investors but rather stealing their money, leaving victims with substantial losses.

She said this intervention represents a significant disruption to the organized network’s financial infrastructure, highlighting the ongoing efforts to combat fraudulent activities in the realm of cryptocurrency and protect investors from falling prey to deceptive schemes.

“The truth is that these international criminal actors are simply stealing cryptocurrency and leaving victims with nothing,” Argentieri said.

Total crypto market cap is currently at $1.39 trillion. Chart: US Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California credited the seizure as the result of extensive effort and a cooperative partnership between the Justice Department and the United States Secret Service.

Over $3 Billion Lost To Scams In The US Emphasizing Silicon Valley’s status as a global hub for cryptocurrency firms, Ramsey reaffirmed the commitment to deploying all available resources “in the pursuit of justice” for fraud and scam victims. Ramsey underscored the determination to collaborate with partners to seize illegal proceeds from cybercriminals, even when the funds and perpetrators are located abroad.

Tether Limited Inc., according to the US Attorney’s Office, participated in the seizure of the cryptocurrencies from the cyber fraud gang.

Based on latest data from CoinMarketCap, Tether’s market capitalization is third among cryptocurrencies, behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. As of Tuesday, its market volume was over $44.7 billion.

Meanwhile, the FBI reports that over $3.3 billion in losses occurred in the United States as a result of investment scams last year, but experts claim that many victims are too ashamed to disclose their losses.

Featured image from Pixabay

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Christian Encila Christian, a journalist and editor with leadership roles in Philippine and Canadian media, is fueled by his love for writing and cryptocurrency. Off-screen, he’s a cook and cinephile who’s constantly intrigued by the size of the universe.

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February 2024


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