US DoJ Indicts Two Individuals in $73 Million ‘Pig Butchering’ Scheme

Promo Protect all your devices, without slowing them down.
Free 30-day trial
US DoJ Indicts Two Individuals in $73 Million ‘Pig Butchering’ Scheme

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) arrested and charged two suspects allegedly linked to a criminal scheme responsible for laundering more than $73 million in crypto tokens derived from investment scams.

Chinese nationals Yicheng Zang and Daren Li were apprehended on April 12 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and subsequently in Los Angeles the next day.

Attempted to Launder Millions

According to court documents, the defendants attempted to launder millions of dollars from pig butchering victims by transferring the funds to various US and international bank accounts, as well as cryptocurrency platforms.

The suspects are accused of instructing their accomplices to open several bank accounts and supervising the transfer of over $73 million to Deltec Bank in the Bahamas. The illicit funds were allegedly converted into crypto, including USDT (Tether).

The Perils of Pig Butchering Scams

The investment scams that brought the ill-gotten gains to perpetrators, in this case, are often called “pig butchering” scams, named for their ability to completely drain victims’ wallets of their hard-earned money.

In these schemes, threat actors infiltrate social media platforms, messaging apps, and even dating platforms, earning the victims’ trust before luring them with fraudulent yet enticing investment opportunities.

Once the target takes the bait, perpetrators drain their cryptocurrency wallets instead of helping them invest the funds.

Massive Trove of Crypto Tokens Found in Laundering Wallet

The investigation unearthed over $341 million worth of crypto tokens in a wallet the perpetrators used in their money laundering activities. Further details about the criminal operation, including information about the victims, commissions, and the shell companies involved, were also revealed during the investigation.

Li and Zhang have been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of international money laundering. If found guilty, they could face up to 20 years in prison for each count.

Defending Against Crypto Scams and Other Schemes

Understanding crypto scams and their potential to cause financial ruin could give you the upper hand against con artists and other perpetrators aiming to steal your money. However, the ingenuity of digital thieves knows no bounds, so even if you’re well-versed in crypto scams, you might still inadvertently take the bait.

Scamio can help you detect potential scams effortlessly. Send it any suspicious email, text, social media message, link, or QR code and get an instant analysis.




Vlad's love for technology and writing created rich soil for his interest in cybersecurity to sprout into a full-on passion. Before becoming a Security Analyst, he covered tech and security topics.

View all posts

You might also like