Feds Bust $73M Crypto Scam, Nab Two Ring Leaders

United States authorities have apprehended two individuals implicated in orchestrating a substantial money laundering operation. This scheme reportedly involved channeling over $73 million through American financial institutions before converting the funds into Tether (USDT). This information came to light in a recent announcement by the Justice Department.

Daren Li, aged 41, was taken into custody at the airport in Atlanta on April 12. Yicheng Zhang, 38, was detained in Los Angeles the day before on Thursday. An indictment against the two was unsealed that same Thursday in a California court, bringing to light their purported involvement in the money laundering scheme.

The allegations assert that Li, Zhang, and their associates managed a transnational criminal network. This network is accused of laundering millions of dollars derived from ‘pig butchering’ cryptocurrency scams. These scams involve fraudsters gaining their victims’ trust, coercing them into making substantial financial investments, and then vanishing with the money.

The accused allegedly instructed their co-conspirators to set up U.S. bank accounts under the names of shell companies. The victims were manipulated into transferring large sums into these accounts. These accounts were then used to clean the illicit money. As per the Department of Justice, the funds were distributed across various bank accounts both within the U.S. and abroad.

In their statement, the DOJ clarified that the fraudulent scheme funneled more than $73 million through American financial institutions to bank accounts located in the Bahamas, where it was converted into the cryptocurrency USDT. A cryptocurrency wallet involved in the scheme reportedly amassed over $341 million in digital assets.

Li and Zhang now face severe legal consequences, being charged with conspiring to launder money and six counts of international money laundering. Should they be found guilty, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment per count, leading to a potential total of 140 years behind bars.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco acknowledged the growing challenge posed by cryptocurrency fraud. She emphasized the determination of law enforcement to hold those responsible accountable, despite the complexities associated with such crimes.

‘Pig butchering’ scams have become increasingly profitable for online criminals. In November 2023, the Justice Department seized $9 million from a similar scheme that targeted over 70 U.S. citizens. The rising frequency and severity of these scams have alarmed lawmakers and regulators in recent months.

Regulatory bodies have intensified their efforts to combat crypto scams and associated incidents within the market. This includes proposing new regulations and industry guidelines. While these measures are aimed at protecting investors and maintaining the integrity of digital assets, there are concerns that some regulations might impede the sector’s growth.

23 thoughts on “Feds Bust $73M Crypto Scam, Nab Two Ring Leaders

  1. Congrats to the DOJ team! 🌟 Taking down such operations helps protect so many people. 🔐

  2. Wow, $73 million is an insane amount! 😲 Kudos to the authorities for stepping in. 👍

  3. Crypto has so much potential, but these scams seriously undermine public trust. Harsh penalties are necessary to deter such criminal behavior.

  4. Great job! 🚀 So glad to see justice being served to these scammers. 💥

  5. Incredible work by the Justice Department. Its crucial to stop these scammers in their tracks.

  6. Such thorough work! Great to see the DOJ tackling these money laundering operations.

  7. Fantastic strides by the DOJ in fighting fraud! 🌠 Really inspiring to see. 🌟

  8. Excellent work, authorities! Kudos for stopping these scammers from preying on more people. 🛡️👮‍♂️

  9. Excellent work! Its reassuring to see prompt actions against such detrimental scams.

  10. Well done, law enforcement! 👏 The fight against crypto crime is so crucial in today’s world. 🌍🔐

  11. While taking these criminals down is a step in the right direction, it feels like a drop in the ocean compared to the magnitude of crypto fraud out there.

  12. Major kudos to the authorities! All efforts to combat these scams are so appreciated.

  13. Incredible work by the DOJ detectives! 🕵️‍♂️ Stopping these crooks is so important! 💰🔒

  14. This is absolutely disgraceful! How can people be so heartless to steal from innocent victims! The punishment should be even harsher. 🚨

  15. The justice system is standing strong! Great job on cracking this case. 💼✊

  16. Big props to the DOJ! Protecting innocent people from these sophisticated crooks. 👮‍♂️👮‍♀️

  17. Outstanding work! 🙌 The relentless efforts against crypto fraud are paying off. 💪

  18. I can’t believe the scale of this operation! $73 million laundered through legitimate financial institutions… What were the banks even doing?

  19. These ‘pig butchering’ scams are becoming way too common, and people need to be more vigilant. How can anyone trust investing in crypto now? 😞

  20. Great news! The Justice Departments dedication to stopping these frauds is commendable.

  21. How could these scammers live with themselves? Preying on the vulnerable and getting away with millions. Absolutely sickening.

  22. Hats off to the authorities for apprehending these individuals! 👏 Justice will prevail! ⚖️

Leave a Reply