DOJ Charges Four Individuals In $80 Million Crypto Scam

December 17, 2023 12:17 pm Comments

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced charges against four individuals and two arrests in connection to an $80 million ‘pig butchering’ scam.

‘Pig butchering’ scams refer to using romantic pretenses to lure in an unsuspecting victim. Once the scammer has built enough trust and rapport with their target, the target is then directed to invest in some sort of crypto venture or market.

Usually, the allure of unusually high APY is also used to push the unsuspecting victim into pulling the trigger and forking over their money.

On Thursday, the United States Department of Justice announced charges against 36-year-old Lu Zhang, 31-year-old Justin Walker, 32-year-old Joseph Wong, and 40-year-old Hailong Zhu in connection with such a scam. Three of the suspects lived in California while the remaining suspect hailed from Illinois.

According to the DOJ, the four suspects are accused of stealing $80 million from unsuspecting victims in a series of 284 transactions. After taking the funds, the alleged perpetrators reportedly transferred the money to domestic and international bank accounts. Here’s what is currently being reported:

CNBC explained:

The defendants allegedly used shell companies registered in California to funnel their profits to domestic and international bank accounts, according to the complaint.

The conspirators set up accounts at numerous banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and had victims send transfers to those accounts, prosecutors alleged.

Peter D and others warned the crypto community: “The pig butchering season is back on. Which is a crypto scam usually targeting less crypto-educated or older people. Be extremely suspicious of anything labeled an “AI token” as well, that’s the new scam phrase.”

Crypto Slate confirmed:

The U.S. Secret Service’s Global Investigative Operations Center is leading the ongoing investigation, with the case being jointly prosecuted by the Central District of California’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and CCIPS/NCET.

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