Seizure of Cryptocurrency
U.S. authorities have confiscated approximately $500,000 in digital currency from an account connected to a Chinese individual involved in an investigation concerning crypto-investment fraud in Southeast Asia, as revealed by a recent document filed in federal court.
The Pig Butchering Scheme
The scam, known as “pig butchering,” involves manipulating individuals encountered online to invest in fraudulent crypto schemes. The U.S. Secret Service identified an account under the name of Wang Yicheng, seizing crypto valued at around $500,000, a portion of which originated from a victim in Massachusetts, according to the court filing from November 21.
Wang’s Identity and Transactions
A Reuters article previously detailed Wang’s identity as a businessman associated with Thailand’s elite circles. Transactions traced to Wang’s account totalled over $90 million, with at least $9.1 million linked to pig-butchering scams, as reported by U.S. blockchain analysis firm TRM Labs.
Impact on Victims
The investigation highlighted instances where individuals fell victim to these schemes. One California man’s family reported a loss of approximately $2.7 million, with funds directed to crypto wallets connected to Wang’s account. Similarly, a Cambridge, Massachusetts resident lost about $478,000 worth of crypto, diverted into accounts including one under Wang’s name.
Law Enforcement’s Perspective
U.S. authorities emphasised the suspicious nature of the account’s activity, pointing to substantial inflows since its opening in 2020, suggesting it could be associated with criminal activities aimed at laundering stolen funds, as stated in the affidavit by U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Heidi Robles.
Responses and Associations
Despite requests for comment, Wang did not respond. The Thai-Asia Economic Exchange Trade Association distanced itself from Wang’s activities, confirming his departure from the group and asserting no involvement in his personal affairs.
Wang Yicheng (left) was formerly Executive Vice President of Thai-Asia Economic Exchange Trade Association. (Image Source: abmedia.io)
Legal Actions and Statements
The civil forfeiture action seeks to acquire assets linked to the alleged crime. However, no criminal charges have been filed yet by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy highlighted the use of civil forfeitures in recovering funds from crypto fraud schemes, adapting to evolving cryptocurrency transactions.
Law Enforcement’s Adaptation
Law enforcement’s strategic adaptation to the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency transactions is pivotal in combating sophisticated fraud schemes. The use of civil forfeitures showcases efforts to recover funds and curtail illegal activities within the crypto sphere without solely relying on criminal charges. Such adaptive measures are crucial to combating crypto-related crimes effectively.
* Original content written by Coinlive. Coinbold is licensed to distribute this content by Coinlive.