By: Eva Baxter
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced indictments against four individuals in a massive cryptocurrency scam allegedly involving $80 million. The accused, Lu Zhang, Justin Walker, Joseph Wong, and Hailong Zhu, face multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and international money laundering.
This operation, referred to as a 'pig butchering' scheme, involved the defendants creating shell companies and bank accounts to receive proceeds. They reportedly established relationships with victims via social media or dating services and eventually persuaded them to invest in non-existent crypto platforms. The scam led to at least 284 transactions, resulting in more than $80 million in losses, with over $20 million directly linked to the accused's accounts.
The indictment is part of the DOJ's escalating focus on crypto-related crimes. The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), part of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), takes the lead in these endeavors, tracing and prosecuting digital asset crimes in coordination with other government and private sector entities.
The indictment is a reminder that each individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. Notwithstanding, the charges underline the growing concern over cryptocurrency scams and the need for robust cybersecurity measures.(source)
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