Home US authorities seek to return $2.3m in crypto to victims of ‘pig butchering’ scam

US authorities seek to return $2.3m in crypto to victims of ‘pig butchering’ scam


  • Massachusetts prosecutors seek to return $2.3 million in seized crypto assets from a scam to victims.
  • The "pig butchering" scam, uncovered in 2023, preyed on trust, luring victims before disappearing.
  • Various cryptocurrencies seized from Binance accounts linked to the scam will be returned.

In a major victory against cryptocurrency scams, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts have taken unprecedented steps to return $2.3 million worth of digital assets seized from fraudsters to victims duped by a devious “pig butchering” scheme.

The Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office (USAO) filed a motion on Wednesday (Mar.13) to return all the funds to victims.

The investigation began in spring 2023 after the USAO became aware of a ‘pig butchering’ cryptocurrency scam targeting the eastern state’s residents. 

The assets being sought for forfeiture include of 299,457.4 USD Coin (USDC), 1,455,305.997648 Tether (USDT), 102,278.515015 Tron (TRX), 3,032.1689461 Solana (SOL), 67.79400436 Binance Coin (BNB), 13,703.955431 Cardano (ADA) and 0.54151495 Ether (ETH), all of which were seized from two Binance accounts traced back to the scam. Binance is the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service.

What is a ‘pig butchering’ crypto scam?

The ‘pig butchering’ crypto scam follows a methodology scammers have used for decades: build trust with the victim through lying, manipulation, and social engineering, persuade them to invest, then disappear with the money.

Frequently originating on dating sites or through ‘wrong number’ texts, scammers befriend the victim and either walk them through downloading an app to use for investing which is actually a fake app controlled by them, or they will get the victim to send money to their crypto wallet so they can do the heavy lifting.

Often the scammers will engineer the situation so it looks like the victim is making good returns. This encourages them to keep investing with higher and higher amounts of money – the proverbial fattening of the pig.

Make sure you know how to avoid the most common crypto scams with our handy guide.

Featured image credit: Generated with Ideogram

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Ali Rees
Tech journalist

Ali Rees is a freelance writer based in the UK. They have worked as a data and analytics consultant, a software tester, and a digital marketing and SEO specialist. They have been a keen gamer and tech enthusiast since their childhood in are currently the Gaming and Tech editor at Brig Newspaper. They also have a Substack where they review short video games. During the pandemic, Ali turned their hand to live streaming and is a fan of Twitch. When not writing, Ali enjoys playing video and board games, live music, and reading. They have two cats and both of…

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