Tether helps US DOJ and FBI recover $1.4M in stolen funds

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office says this is among the first times the U.S. has recovered USDT from an unhosted virtual currency wallet.

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Tether helps US DOJ and FBI recover $1.4M in stolen funds

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Illinois, announced the seizure of approximately $1.4 million dollars in Tether (USDT) on March 12. The funds were suspected of being proceeds from fraud via a customer support scam.

Recovery efforts were led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tether assisted in the operation.

Per a press release from Tether:

“We are proud of our collaboration with the United States government in combating financial fraud within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The seizure of $1.4 million worth of Tether (USDT) marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to uphold integrity in this rapidly evolving industry. Our commitment to safeguarding users and eradicating illicit activities remains unwavering. Together with law enforcement agencies across the globe, we will continue to lead the charge in fostering a safer and more secure environment.”

The funds were stolen through a customer support scam which, according to the Attorney’s Office, mostly targeted the elderly.

Victims were sourced via a popup ad on their computers. The ad stated that the victim’s computer had been compromised and gave them a fake customer support number to contact. Upon contacting the number, they were then informed that their bank accounts had also been affected and transferred to another scammer posing as a support agent.

The victims were then directed to transfer their bank funds to USDT in order to supposedly keep it safe. At that point, the victims lost control of their tokens and contact was presumably severed by the alleged fraudsters.

According to the Attorney’s Office, this seizure marks one of the first times the U.S. has recovered USDT from an unhosted virtual currency wallet.

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As the investigation remains ongoing, it’s unclear at this time how the funds were recovered but an affidavit filed Jan. 24 seems to indicate that law enforcement agents were able to trace the funds to five distinct wallets.

The document states that the suspected wallets contained assets that were “traceable to proceeds of a wire fraud scheme involving financial fraud and were transferred in relatively small batches of currency through a series of intermediary addresses for no discernable purpose, very probably in an effort to launder the proceeds.”

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