US authorities have announced the civil forfeiture and return of cryptocurrency worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that was stolen from an elderly Asheville resident victimized by a government imposter scam.
The fraudsters, operating from abroad, telephoned the victim in 2021, presenting themselves as being from the ‘Office of the Inspector General’. They deceptively informed him that the government was going to freeze his assets. The reason they cited was that the victim’s personal data had been used in a drug trafficking and ML scheme. The fraudsters asked the victim to deposit his assets into a government account by purchasing Bitcoin through Coinbase Global, Inc. Thereafter, an account that the fraudsters controlled received Bitcoin worth approximately $574,766 from the victim’s Coinbase account.
Coinbase and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suspected elder financial fraud and launched an investigation. The civil forfeiture proceedings were successful and the seized cryptocurrency was forfeited to the US. The authorities will now return the amount to the victim.
Source: US Department of Justice