BOSTON – The United States Attorney’s Office filed a civil forfeiture action to recover cryptocurrency alleged to be proceeds of an investment fraud scheme targeting a Massachusetts resident. The government seeks to forfeit 87,637 Tether (USDT) seized from an account located at Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian.
In November 2022, an investigation began into a cryptocurrency investment fraud scheme targeting a Massachusetts resident. As alleged in court documents, the individual was tricked, through fraudulent text and WhatsApp messages, into transferring a total of $975,900 from his bank account first into two cryptocurrency exchanges and then from there into a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange.
From that transfer, the funds, in the form of cryptocurrency, were allegedly transferred through a series of intermediary cryptocurrency addresses. Ultimately, investigators were able to trace some of the funds to an account located at Binance, the contents of which were seized in May 2023.
It is a violation of federal law to use wire communications as part of a scheme to defraud or to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses. The complaint alleges that the seized currency was proceeds of the wire fraud. A civil forfeiture action allows third parties to assert claims to property, which must be resolved before the property can be forfeited to the United States and returned to victims.
This is the fourth civil forfeiture action the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed seeking to forfeit cryptocurrency traced to fraud schemes targeting Massachusetts victims.
Members of the public who believe they are victims of a cybercrime – including cryptocurrency scams, romance scams, investment scams and business email compromise (BEC) fraud scams – should contact USAMA.CyberTip@usdoj.gov.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Andrew Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. The civil forfeiture action is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Lyons of the Asset Recovery Unit.
The details contained in the civil forfeiture complaint are allegations. The United States Attorney’s Office has not filed a corresponding criminal action on the matter.