Significant Disruption in Cybercrime Activities

On November 21, 2023, the U.S. Justice Department made headlines by announcing a major disruption in cybercrime activities. They were able to seize nearly $9 million in Tether (USDT) from an international scam organization that was involved in executing romance scams and cryptocurrency confidence scams. This organization was infamously known for its involvement in “pig butchering.”

Targeting Innocent Victims

The scam network was able to target over 70 victims across the United States by luring them with fake investment opportunities through non-existent trading platforms. Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri stated that this operation aimed to deceive ordinary investors and leave them with substantial financial losses. The U.S. Secret Service played a crucial role in identifying and seizing the fraudulent funds through their thorough analysis and tracing of cryptocurrency transactions.

Collaborative Efforts and Commitment to Justice

The successful seizure was the result of collaborative efforts between the Justice Department and the U.S. Secret Service. U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey emphasized the department’s commitment to justice for fraud victims, particularly in prominent cryptocurrency hubs like Silicon Valley. Special Agent in Charge Shawn Bradstreet of the USSS San Francisco Field Office also reaffirmed the agency’s dedication to protecting the financial security of U.S. citizens.

Investigative Efforts and Victim Encouragement

The USSS San Francisco Field Office led the investigation, with Trial Attorney Georgiana MacDonald and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Kaltsas and Galen Phillips managing the case and related forfeiture actions. In addition, the department acknowledged Tether’s cooperation in transferring the seized assets. The victims of cryptocurrency scams were encouraged to report incidents to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network.

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Broad Effort to Combat Cryptocurrency-Related Fraud

This seizure is part of a broader effort by U.S. authorities to combat cryptocurrency-related fraud and crime. The U.S. government has previously demonstrated its capability to recover illegal funds in similar scenarios, such as the seizure of about 70,000 Bitcoins connected to the Silk Road in 2020. According to an October report by, the U.S. government holds over $5 billion in seized cryptocurrency assets.

Ongoing Commitment to Protecting Investors

The Justice Department’s recent seizure of $9 million in Tether underscores the U.S. government’s ongoing commitment to combating cyber-enabled financial fraud and protecting investors. This case serves as a cautionary tale about the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments and the importance of vigilance in the digital finance landscape.

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