The Delaware Department of Justice’s Investor Protection Unit has issued a cease and desist order against 23 entities and individuals involved in a popular cryptocurrency scam known as “pig butchering.” The order also freezes the accounts allegedly holding cryptocurrencies belonging to the victims.
Delaware Cracks Down on Pig Butchering Crypto Scam
The attorney general of the U.S. state of Delaware, Kathy Jennings, announced Wednesday that the Investor Protection Unit of the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has “issued a summary order to cease and desist against 23 entities and individuals involved in a cryptocurrency scam known as the ‘pig butchering scam.’”
Pig butchering crypto scams have recently become alarmingly popular. Victims of this type of scam “are groomed over time to make investments using cryptocurrency, only to find that what they thought was a safe investment was a scam,” the Delaware DOJ detailed. “The moniker stems from the scammers’ practice of ‘fattening’ the victims before absconding with their assets (‘butchering’).”
Attorney General Jennings stressed, “When victims lose money through cryptocurrency scams, including the pig butchering scam, it can be difficult to recover those funds,” adding:
Today’s order takes a first step toward protecting Delaware investors from the pig butchering scam by freezing funds at risk from further transfer by the wrongdoers.
The announcement details that the Investor Protection Unit received complaints from residents in the state. They explained that they were contacted online by unknown persons who urged them to invest in cryptocurrency. The scammers then encouraged them to invest more after showing large returns on initial investments.
However, the Delaware DOJ warned: “Ultimately, they were never able to withdraw the funds and their cryptocurrency disappeared. It is estimated that this international scam involves thousands of victims across the country with losses into the billions of dollars.”
Working with a data analytics company, the Investor Protection Unit traced cryptocurrency belonging to two Delaware complainants to a number of wallets on various crypto exchanges, the authority described.
The cease and desist order prohibits anyone or any entities affiliated with the wallets from withdrawing or transferring assets owned by the complainants, the Delaware Justice Department noted, elaborating:
This, in turn, prevents the exchanges holding the wallets from permitting parties to move the fraudulently obtained crypto, thus effectively freezing the accounts holding assets belonging to the Delaware victims.
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