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US Seizes Half a Million Dollars in Digital Currency Linked to Chinese Man Involved in Crypto Fraud

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Pexels

The United States has seized digital currency valued at approximately half a million dollars from an account registered to a Chinese individual who was implicated in a crypto-investment fraud scheme.

The scam, commonly referred to as “pig butchering,” involves manipulating unsuspecting victims into investing in fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes through online interactions, per a report from Reuters

The report cited court documents filed by US authorities in Massachusetts, which showed the US Secret Service confiscated the digital currency from an account bearing the name Wang Yicheng in June. 

At the time, the seized digital assets amounted to around $500,000. 

The funds trace back to a victim residing in Massachusetts, whose money was illicitly diverted into Wang’s account, as stated in the filing submitted on November 21.

Reuters Article Reveals Wang Received Funds Linked to Scams

The seizure came after Wang was identified as a businessman who had cultivated relationships with influential figures in Thailand’s law enforcement and political circles while serving as the vice president of a Chinese trade group based in Bangkok in a Reuters article.

The report, published on November 23, shed light on a crypto account under Wang’s name that had received over $90 million in recent years, as revealed through transaction logs and documents. 

Notably, at least $9.1 million of those funds were linked to pig-butchering scams, according to TRM Labs, a US blockchain analysis firm.

The trade group associated with Wang is known as the Thai-Asia Economic Exchange Trade Association. 

In response to inquiries, the association emphasized its commitment to complying with laws and regulations and disavowed any support for illegal activities. 

It stated that Wang’s personal and business affairs were unrelated to the trade association, clarifying that Wang was no longer associated with the group and contact had been severed.

US Has Not Yet Filed Legal Charges Against Wang 

Regarding the legal proceedings, the court filing represents a civil forfeiture action, wherein the government seeks court approval to take possession of assets seized in connection with alleged criminal activities. 

As of now, the United States has not filed any criminal charges related to this particular case, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

Acting US Attorney Joshua Levy in Massachusetts said the use of civil forfeitures to recover funds stolen through crypto fraud schemes. 

“Despite the seemingly elusive nature of cryptocurrency transactions, law enforcement is adapting and evolving,” he said in a statement.

It is worth noting that the US government is the largest holder of Bitcoin (BTC), acquiring approximately 200,000 coins (worth around $5 billion) through seizures related to criminal activities. 

The digital assets were seized from cybercriminals and darknet markets and are securely stored offline in encrypted hardware wallets controlled by various federal agencies, including the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).