FBI seizes $250k in stolen crypto and NFT funds
The FBI recently conducted a significant seizure of cryptocurrency, NFTs, and digital assets worth $250,000 from two different locations.
On-chain analyst jumpstarts investigation
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took control of 2.2 Bitcoins, worth $39k, which were stored in three different wallets in Houston, Texas. Another filing reported that 86.5 Ethereum, valued at $116k, was seized from a person of interest named Chase Senecal. This individual also held NFTs, including Bored Ape Yacht Club #9658 and Doodle #3114, with a total value of $104k, all belonging to a user known as “C 55047.”
In addition to the aforementioned digital assets, a high-end Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch worth $41,000 was seized from Senecal. The individual, now referred to as “HZ,” had taken control of multiple Twitter accounts and redirected funds to his personal wallets.
The investigation into these fraudulent actions was triggered by on-chain detective ZachXBT in September of 2022. The exposure of Senecal’s true identity came about when ZachXBT noticed Senecal displaying the luxurious watch that had been taken by federal authorities in October.
The cryptocurrency community is currently facing more rigorous regulations as authorities take action against fraudulent behavior. This has become especially true since the FTX debacle which impacted the cryptocurrency sector in its entirety.
This seizure highlights the efficiency of the FBI in detecting and handling crypto scams with the proper authority. This creates a more secure atmosphere for those new to investing in cryptocurrency. The FBI’s move sends a clear warning to potential scam artists and emphasizes the significance of adhering to regulations within the crypto community. It also underscores the power of community collaboration and the positive impact of individual efforts in protecting the crypto environment.
Crypto, DeFi, and NFT criminal activity on the rise
Last year, the crypto industry, including the NFT sector, faced numerous cyber attacks and scams. During 2022, the decentralized finance (DeFi) segment saw a rise in funds lost to hacking, with the total value exceeding $6 billion, as reported by crypto analyst Kofi of DefiLlama.
Furthermore, New York-based analytics firm Chainalysis reported that the value of illicit crypto transactions reached a record $20.1 billion in 2022, a 40% increase from the previous year. The report suggests that North Korea was responsible for a significant portion of the stolen funds.
SlowMist, a blockchain security firm, reported in December that cybercriminals believed to be connected to a North Korean advanced persistent threat (APT) group were also able to steal over 1,000 NFTs, resulting in a profit of around $365,000 from their sale.
The growth of the cryptocurrency and NFT sectors requires increasing regulations to protect investors and prevent fraud. The recent seizure by the FBI underscores the resolve of authorities to maintain the cryptocurrency world’s credibility and establish a fair and transparent trading environment.