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Two Chinese Nationals Arrested for Stealing $73M+ Via Cryptocurrency Scams

Two Chinese people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in a complex cryptocurrency trading scam that stole more than $73 million from people.

In the Central District of California, the accusation was made public.

It charges Daren Li, 41, and Yicheng Zhang, 38, with planning to launder money and six counts of actually laundering money in another country.

Daren Li, a native of China and St. Kitts and Nevis, was caught at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on April 12.

I was then taken to the Central District of California.

He lives in China, Cambodia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Yicheng Zhang was caught in Los Angeles. He lives in Temple City, California.

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Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, “Cryptocurrency investment scams take advantage of the fact that virtual currency and online communications don’t have borders to steal money from people.”

“There are a lot of different kinds of fraud in the crypto markets, and the criminals who do it aren’t safe from the law.”

Information about the fraud scheme

Court papers say that Li, Zhang, and their partners ran an international group that “pig butchered” money from cryptocurrency investment scams.

People who were tricked sent millions of dollars to U.S. bank accounts created in the names of many fake companies.

These accounts were only used to help hide the money that was made from theft.

After the money was cleaned, it was moved to different bank accounts and coin platforms in the United States and other countries.

This was done to hide where the money came from, what it was used for, who owned it, and who controlled it.

More than $73 million was moved through U.S. banks and sent to bank accounts in The Bahamas. These funds were then changed into the cryptocurrency Tether (USDT).

Over $341 million worth of virtual assets were sent to a cryptocurrency wallet that was part of the plan.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri said, “The indictment says that Li and Zhang helped launder millions of dollars that were stolen from people who fell for cryptocurrency investment scams.”

“Laundering money is a key part of these scams because it lets thieves move illegal money quickly and try to make it look like it’s real.”

 Ongoing Efforts to Combat Financial Fraud

Li and Zhang’s arrests show that the Justice Department is serious about ending fraud in all financial markets and upsetting the whole cybercrime ecosystem.

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California stressed the importance of people being aware of these kinds of scams so they can be stopped.

“While my office will continue to find and punish these dishonest schemes, I urge everyone to learn about pig butchering and other types of financial fraud to keep their families safe from such harmful behavior.”

“Being alert is key.” The U.S. Secret Service’s Global Investigative Operations Centre is leading the investigation, with help from many other domestic and foreign agencies.

They are working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) to bring the charges.

Li and Zhang could get up to 20 years in jail for each count if found guilty.

The case shows how hard law enforcement is working to stop people from using cryptocurrency and other digital assets illegally.

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of cryptocurrency investment scams should report it to IC3.gov with the subject line “Pig Butchering PSA” and as much information as possible.

A charge, or “indictment,” is only a suggestion. A person is thought to be free until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Author: Divya