A couple of days ago, the US Department of Justice announced that it had seized $9 million in USDT (Tether) linked to crypto scams.
Tether later confirmed that it had helped the authorities in their investigation.
The seized crypto scams and Tether (USDT)
The DoJ revealed that these were “romance scams” using cryptocurrencies.
They found that the scammers were targeting investors through artfully created Web sites to make them believe they could make a lot of money.
They were able to get the unfortunate people to send them cryptocurrencies, which were then simply stolen for all intents and purposes.
The scam was of the “pig butchering” type, or a combination of a romantic scam with a financial one. It is so called because the victim is “fattened up” before “butchering.”
The scammers would contact victims via social networks, messaging apps, or dating sites, initiating a cordial discussion to try to convince the unfortunates that they would like to start a new friendship or even a romantic relationship with them.
In this specific case, once contacted and circumvented, victims were convinced to make “investments” in trusted companies and crypto exchanges. In reality, these were nonexistent trading platforms, artfully created only to make the scam more credible.
More than 70 victims were identified, and they tracked the funds they sent to the scammers in USDT. At that point, thanks to Tether, they seized those funds with a total value of nearly $9 million.
Note that in the official statement, the DoJ openly thanks Tether for providing assistance in making the transfer of the seized assets.
Tether, for its part, said it is constantly engaged in combating illicit activities and providing support to victims with its assistance, but also with support to law enforcement.
This kind of cooperation has already occurred several times, so much so that by now it could even be considered an established practice.
Indeed, Tether even claims to have recently integrated the U.S. Secret Service on its platform, and that it will also collaborate with the FBI to do the same thing.
This is a strategic initiative aimed at extending support to victims affected by crimes under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The company also says it will align its efforts with law enforcement to combat nefarious activities and help recover victims’ funds.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, Ismail J. Ramsey, stated:
“This seizure is the culmination of the exceptional hard work and collaborative partnership between the Justice Department and the United States Secret Service. Silicon Valley remains one of the world’s preeminent locations for cryptocurrency firms. As such, we remain dedicated to using all tools at our disposal to bring justice to the victims of frauds and scams. Even when money and criminals are abroad, we will work with our partners to seize cyber criminals’ illegal proceeds.”
USSS San Francisco Local Office Special Agent Shawn Bradstreet added:
“This seizure exemplifies the Secret Service’s mission to protect the financial infrastructure of the United States. We remain determined and vigilant to combat cyber-enabled financial fraud. It is a priority for the Secret Service to protect the financial security that citizens work so hard to obtain. We want to thank the Justice Department for their partnership, dedication, and outstanding work on this case.”
Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino commented, saying:
“Tether remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting law enforcement efforts and aiding victims in their recovery. We condemn the misuse of USDT or any cryptocurrency for illicit purposes and are fully committed to collaborating with global law enforcement agencies.”