Crypto News: In recent times, the United States has witnessed an alarming surge in crypto-related phishing scams and pig butchering schemes. Among these concerning developments, the US Attorney’s Office has filed a civil forfeiture action to reclaim cryptocurrency from Binance, believed to be the proceeds of a business email compromise (BEC) fraud scheme targeting a Massachusetts business. This legal action enables third parties to assert claims to the property, necessitating resolution before the assets can be forfeited to the United States and returned to the victims.
US Seeks To Recover Crypto Assets
The government’s pursuit involves the forfeiture of cryptocurrency seized from seven accounts held at Binance, a prominent crypto exchange and custodian. The accounts contained various digital assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), APE (ApeCoin), JASMY (an ERC-20 token), OGN (Origin Protocol), SHIB (Shiba Inu), XEC (eCash), TLM, and BNB (Binance coin).
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According to the official statement released, the investigation into this particular BEC scheme commenced in March 2022, when a Massachusetts business fell victim to a fraudulent email. The scammers successfully tricked the company into wiring a substantial sum of $898,342 from their local bank account to an account opened in California.
Stolen Funds Trail End At Binance
The illicitly obtained funds were subsequently traced to another bank account and then converted into Bitcoin on a cryptocurrency exchange. To further obscure the money trail, the funds were transferred through multiple intermediary wallet addresses, following a pattern commonly associated with money laundering transactions. Ultimately, a portion of the funds was traced to accounts located at the Binance exchange, where they were seized in August and September 2022.
Under federal law, it is considered a violation to employ wire communications as part of a scheme to defraud or obtain money or property through false or fraudulent means. The complaint lodged by the US Attorney’s Office asserts that the seized currency represents both the proceeds of the wire fraud and property involved in money laundering.
In the wake of such crypto news, crypto phishing scams and BEC fraud have become increasingly prevalent in the United States, causing significant financial losses for individuals and businesses alike. Civil forfeiture actions, like the one taken by the US Attorney’s Office, aim to disrupt criminal networks and provide restitution to the victims.
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