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Digital Currency Tied to Chinese Man in Crypto Fraud Seized by US

Key Takeaways
  • US seizes $500,000 from a Chinese-linked fraud scheme, showing action against crypto scams.
  • Crackdown may reassure investors but raises concerns about privacy and stifling innovation.
  • Government's asset seizure signals stricter crypto rules, shaping industry norms and potential growth.
13-Dec-2023 By: Sudeep Saxena
Digital Currency Tie

Wang's Ties to Thailand's Elite Led to Funds Seizure by US Authorities

US authorities have taken control of digital currency valued at roughly $500,000 from an account linked to a Chinese individual involved in a fraudulent crypto-investment scheme.

The scheme, known as "pig butchering," manipulates individuals into investing in fake cryptocurrency ventures through online interactions. According to Reuters, court documents filed in Massachusetts by US authorities revealed that the US Secret Service seized the digital currency from an account registered under the name Wang Yicheng in June.

The funds, which were traced back to a victim in Massachusetts, had been unlawfully diverted into Wang's account, as outlined in the filing submitted on November 21st.

US Authorities Seize Money from Persons Involved in Scams

US authorities took the money after finding out Wang had cultivated relationships with influential people in Thailand's law and politics while working for a Chinese trade group in Bangkok.

This happened after a report from Reuters on November 23. The report showed that Wang's crypto account had earned more than $90 million in recent years. A US company that looks at blockchain found that $9.1 million of that money was from scams like pig butchering.

Wang used to be part of a group called the Thai-Asia Economic Exchange Trade Association. When asked about Wang, the group said they follow the rules and don't support illegal things. They also said that Wang's stuff had nothing to do with their group anymore. They cut ties with Wang.

Legal Action Initiated for Asset Seizure in Alleged Crypto Fraud

The court filing represents a move by the government to take possession of seized assets linked to suspected criminal activities through a civil forfeiture action.

So far, there haven't been any criminal charges filed in this specific case, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

Acting US Attorney Joshua Levy in Massachusetts highlighted the use of civil forfeiture to recover funds believed to be obtained through crypto fraud.

Notably, the US government holds a significant amount of Bitcoin, around 200,000 coins valued at roughly $5 billion, obtained through seizures related to criminal activities.

These digital assets were confiscated from cybercriminals and darknet markets and stored securely offline in encrypted hardware wallets controlled by different federal agencies, including the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

Effects of Law Enforcement Actions on Crypto Industry

The implications of such actions for the crypto industry can be significant. When authorities crack down on fraudulent activities within the crypto space, it can lead to increased scrutiny and regulations.

Investors might gain more confidence knowing that measures are being taken against scams and fraudulent schemes, which could ultimately contribute to a more legitimate and stable crypto market.

However, heightened regulations and enforcement might also create concerns about privacy and government control, potentially impacting innovation and adoption within the industry.

Also Read: El Salvador Aims to Sell Out 'Freedom Visa' Bitcoin Cards by Year-End

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