The United States has apprehended individuals involved in fraud resulting in a total of $80 million

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed charges against four individuals, two of whom are now in custody, for their purported participation in a fraudulent operation involving the slaughtering of pigs. This scheme has led to victim damages exceeding $80 million.

Four individuals, namely Lu Zhang, Justin Walker, Joseph Wong, all residents of California, and Hailong Zhu, a resident of Illinois, have been connected to a seven-count indictment. The accusations against them include conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment money laundering, and international money laundering.

Reportedly, they established several shell corporations and bank accounts with the intention of laundering proceeds acquired from those who fell victim to cryptocurrency investment scams, also referred to as pig butchering or cryptocurrency confidence scams, in addition to other deceitful schemes. The funds were moved to both domestic and international financial institutions under their jurisdiction.

Perpetrators of fraudulent pig butchering operations employ several messaging applications, dating sites, and social media platforms to initiate contact with their victims. They establish confidence and then introduce them to investment schemes that ultimately enable them to deplete the victims’ bitcoin wallets.

The scammers divert the victims’ assets to cryptocurrency accounts under their control, instead of investing them as promised.

Zhang and Walker, two out of the four suspects, were apprehended and attended a court appearance in Los Angeles federal court yesterday. If found guilty, both suspects may potentially receive a maximum penalty of 20 years of incarceration.

The pig-butchering syndicate’s fraud operation encompassed a total of 284 transactions and led to victim losses exceeding $80 million. Today, the Justice Department announced that bank accounts linked to the defendants received over $20 million in victim cash through direct deposits.