Major Fraud Scheme Exposed: “Pig Butchering” Scam Nets Over $80 Million in Cryptocurrency Frauds


Major Fraud Scheme Exposed: “Pig Butchering” Scam Nets Over $80 Million in Cryptocurrency Frauds

A significant fraud and money laundering operation involving four individuals has been unveiled, with victims scammed out of more than $80 million through at least 284 transactions, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The accused individuals, three from Southern California (Lu Zhang, Justin Walker, Joseph Wong) and one from Chicago (Hailong Zhu), allegedly engaged in a “pig butchering” scheme, conspiring to open shell companies and bank accounts to launder funds from cryptocurrency investment scams and other fraudulent activities.

The perpetrators initiated contact with victims through dating apps and social media, posing as wrong numbers or cold-calling them. Building trust, they introduced the idea of cryptocurrency-based business investments, directing victims to fraudulent platforms where they would make financial commitments.

Once funds were sent to scam-controlled accounts, the investment platforms displayed false gains, inducing victims to make additional investments. However, victims found themselves unable to withdraw or recover their money, resulting in substantial losses.

The term “pig butchering” derives from a foreign-language phrase describing the process of priming fraud targets for financial exploitation.

Lu Zhang and Justin Walker have been arrested and appeared in federal court, facing charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment money laundering, and international money laundering. If convicted, they could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The Department of Justice urges victims to report the scam to, referencing “Pig Butchering PSA” in their complaint. Authorities seek comprehensive information, including names of investment platforms, cryptocurrency addresses, transaction details, bank account information, and the identities of suspected scammers.

This exposé highlights the ongoing challenges of fraud in the cryptocurrency space, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and reporting to combat such schemes.

Note: This analysis is based on the original report, and the information provided may be subject to updates and developments.

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