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U.S. seizes $500,000 of crypto linked to ‘pig butchering’ scam

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Law enforcement officials in the United States have confiscated about $500,000 worth of digital currency from an account associated with a Chinese businessman.

Wang Yicheng has been identified as being connected to a fraudulent scheme known as the ‘pig butchering’ scam. Authorities focused on an account under Yicheng’s name as part of their investigation into the scam, which involves tricking individuals into investing in fake crypto schemes online.

The funds seized by US authorities were traced back to Yicheng’s account, having been stolen from a victim in Massachusetts.

Crime gangs involved in crypto scam

Recent reports have implicated Wang Yicheng in a Reuters investigation, identifying him as a businessman with ties to senior law enforcement in Thailand and serving as the vice president for a Chinese trade group.

Analysis from blockchain specialists, TRM Labs, found that a crypto account in Yicheng’s name received over $90 million in transactions, with at least $9.1 million allegedly originating from a crypto wallet linked to the ‘pig butchering’ scam.

Victims in California and Massachusetts were both deceived into substantial losses, with one losing $2.7 million and the other losing $478,000 worth of crypto. US law enforcement has described the account under Yicheng’s name as indicative of criminal activity aimed at laundering stolen funds.

Crypto scams have seen a significant increase, with the US reporting nearly double the losses from such scams in 2022 compared to the previous year, marking an 88% increase from $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion.

The trade group featured in the Reuters investigation disassociated itself from Wang Yicheng, asserting that it did not support illegal activities and no longer had any affiliation with him. The group emphasized that his personal affairs were unrelated to the trade association.

Featured image: Pexels

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