More Than $112 Million in Cryptocurrencies Linked to Fraudulent Investments Seized – NBC Los Angeles

An investigation into cryptocurrency investment scams known as “pig butchering” led to the seizure of an estimated $112 million, the media reported Monday. United States Department of Justice.

The scams were carried out after cultivating “online relationships with victims, which ultimately entice them to invest in fraudulent cryptocurrency trading platforms,” according to court documents.

The term “carnage” is derived from what the scammers referred to as “fatting up” victims “who they believed were in a romantic relationship,” or other interactions with people that earned people’s trust.

The funds delivered by the victims were directed to fraudulent accounts and not to investments. Scammers allegedly fabricate “websites or mobile apps to display a fake investment portfolio with high profits,” the statement states.

The seizures were approved for six cryptocurrency accounts by judges in Los Angeles, and in the districts of Arizona and Idaho. Funds from 10 of the victims identified in this case were found in the accounts.

“In the Los Angeles case, a United States trial judge authorized the seizure of an account containing approximately $66.4 million in various cryptocurrencies after finding probable cause that the funds were derived from wire fraud schemes. ”, according to the statement.

One of the victims was contacted by LinkedIn and lost approximately $2.5 million. The woman moved her funds to an account that was recommended by the scammer identified as Fei Kuang, but when she wanted to “withdraw the funds from her, they told her she had to pay 20% ‘tax’.”

“Once victims make an initial ‘investment’, the platforms claim to show substantial profits. Sometimes victims are even allowed to withdraw some of these initial profits to build more trust in the scheme. It’s not until a large investment that victims find they cannot withdraw their funds,” according to the statement.

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said that “using the methods of traditional scammers, high-tech scammers have taken advantage of the hype and hype surrounding cryptocurrency to encourage untold numbers of Americans to invest in schemes to get rich quick”.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that in 2022 this type of fraud led to a total loss of $3.31 billion. This meant an increase of 183% compared to 2021.

If you or someone you know believes they have been a victim of this type of fraud, visit www.fbi.gov/cryptoguardcontact your local FBI field office (the Los Angeles field office can be reached at 310-477-6565), call 1-800-CALL-FBI , or report it to IC3.gov.

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