FBI Seizes Bitcoin From Overseas Scammers Who Posed as US Law Enforcement Officials – The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut and the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced last week that they have seized bitcoin and other digital assets as part of an investigation into a fraudulent scheme targeting the elderly.
They detailed: “An investigation of a fraud scheme targeting vulnerable victims has resulted in the forfeiture of approximately 151 bitcoins, as well as other digital assets.” The FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and U.S. Marshals Service are currently conducting an investigation into the case. As of the time of writing, the estimated value of the bitcoin that is said to have been seized is around $3.5 million.
In October 2020, a scam took place where foreign individuals impersonated U.S. law enforcement officials and targeted vulnerable individuals such as first-generation U.S. citizens and the elderly. They contacted victims via phone, claiming their identities had been compromised and then requested money transfers for safekeeping, promising to return the funds with interest.
The announcement details: “Once the overseas individuals had access to the victims’ money, they moved the money through multiple bank accounts and converted the money to digital currency in the form of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.” “Law enforcement investigators traced the victims’ money through the various accounts and identified a digital wallet holding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that had been purchased with the victims’ money,” the announcement adds.
The individuals responsible for the scam, who are believed to be located outside of the United States, have not yet been apprehended by authorities. To take action against the scam, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has obtained a civil asset forfeiture seizure warrant for the digital wallet used by the scammers.
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This means that the authorities have the legal authority to seize any assets or money found in the digital wallet as a result of the fraudulent activity. Elaborating: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office used the civil asset forfeiture procedure because the digital assets constituted the proceeds of wire fraud.”