Fraudulent Funds Linked to 'Pig Butchering' Romance Scam: Tether the largest ever freeze of USDT
USDT issuer Tether announced yesterday (the 20th) that it collaborated with OKX exchange and the US Department of Justice in investigating a major international crime.
As part of this, they voluntarily froze approximately $225 million USDT in an external self-hosted wallet, marking the largest USDT freeze in history. This action highlights the crypto industry's determination to combat criminal activities.
Actions of Tether
Tether stated that the frozen wallet is related to an international human trafficking group in Southeast Asia, primarily engaged in global romance scams, also known as "pig butchering” scams.
The company further stated that this joint investigation utilised tools from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. Over several months of investigation, they analysed the movement of illicit funds on the blockchain, pinpointing the location of illegal funds. Following a freeze request from U.S. authorities, Tether took proactive measures.
Establish a Style of Combating Crime
Paolo Ardoino, CEO of Tether said,
"Through proactive engagement with global law enforcement agencies and our commitment to transparency, Tether aims to set a new standard for safety within the crypto space."
OKX Chief Innovation Officer Jason Lau said,
"Collaborating with industry stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, is a key tenet of our approach to building trust and serving the public good as a leader in the crypto industry."
Tether also promises to ensure industry integrity by strictly adhering to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) protocols.
Moreover, Tether's compliance unit performs comprehensive enhanced due diligence screenings for every applicant, cross-referencing their details with the U.S.
Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions databases. This practice enables Tether to steer clear of involvement with sanctioned individuals, entities, or deposit addresses.
Scam Using Crypto
Many are familiar with human trafficking and scams prevalent in Southeast Asia. The most rampant incidents occur along the borders of Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand, where various fraudulent groups operate in distinct, rampant ways, manipulating different criminal activities.
NOWnews' YouTube channel featured an exclusive interview with Pipi (皮皮), who shared her harrowing experience of being trafficked to Cambodia firsthand. Prior to her rescue, she was even sold a staggering four times.
She shared the various fraudulent missions within the park, employing different forms and methods to commit crimes! One of the most common is through emotional deception, often starting the entire romance scam with "pig butchering".
In the video (at the 8:08), she also mentioned one involving fraudulent activity that started with her involvement in cryptocurrency investments.
Another YouTube channel, Bump, focuses on anti-fraud topics; there are numerous mentions in their videos about fraud groups using crypto transactions for scams as well.