The US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that they had charged an international crypto fraud cartel that was involved with millions of dollars in thefts. The cartel was made up of 20 individuals, of which 16 were foreign members, and they are being charged with defrauding the American citizens. Working with foreign authorities, the DOJ managed to extradite the criminals back to the US.
The DOJ issued a statement, in which Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said,
“The defendants allegedly orchestrated a highly organized and sophisticated scheme to steal money from unsuspecting victims in America and then launder their funds using cryptocurrency.”
In the statement, the DOJ explained that the criminals had defrauded the public with the listing of multiple products on online auction websites. The products, which were mostly cars, did not even exist in the first place, and the scammers were only able to improve the believability of their project by connecting with US-based associates.
The money was sent to the US-based associates, so as not to raise alarm about the changing currency. These locals switched the payments received from the auction sites into cryptocurrency and sent on the funds to the mainly Romanian conspirators. Most of the scammers pretended to be military service members from the United States, pretending that they have to deploy soon.
U.S. Attorney Duncan is quoted in the report as well, saying,
“This prosecution stems from a multi-year investigation initiated in Kentucky led by the US Secret Service, in cooperation with several local, state, federal, and international law enforcement partners.”
Cryptocurrency is solely not responsible for the whole of money laundering, because money laundering has been around for decades. However, this is easily one of the many cases in cryptocurrency that shows how easy it is for scammers to send money all over the world at great speed, as TheNextWeb points out in their report of this event.
Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles explained,
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the success of the collaborative efforts of our worldwide network of law enforcement partners.”
“This is a shared win for law enforcement across the globe. I would like to thank the more than a dozen law enforcement agencies worldwide who helped us investigate this case, each played a vital role in its success.”