Brooklyn DA exposes ‘pig butchering’ cryptocurrency scam

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, led by Eric Gonzalez, has dismantled a sophisticated cryptocurrency scam that duped individuals across the U.S. out of millions.

The so-called “pig butchering” scheme revolved around a deceptive practice where scammers befriended unsuspecting victims online, and steered them toward investing in cryptocurrencies through fraudulent websites and apps. Afterward, they ultimately blocked them from withdrawing their funds, resulting in total losses of their investments.


Gonzalez expressed concern over the growing prevalence of such scams, which he described as defrauding residents beyond the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Losses from similar schemes reach billions annually.

He also stressed the importance of public awareness and education as vital defenses against such pervasive scams, urging skepticism towards overly enticing investment opportunities in crypto.

The investigation, led by the Virtual Currency Unit within the DA’s office, stemmed from numerous complaints received by the office, including a case involving a 51-year-old woman who reported a loss of $22,680 after falling victim to a similar scam in March 2023.

She was enticed to invest through chat groups discussing crypto investments, leading to significant deposits and false promises of high returns. However, when attempting to withdraw her funds, she encountered obstacles and ultimately lost her entire investment.

“Investment returns that seem too good to be true are almost always just that – fake,” Gonzalez said. “So, I urge everyone to be very skeptical of anyone who they haven’t met in person and who offers a lucrative investment opportunity in cryptocurrency.”

A detailed analysis of crypto transactions revealed the complexity of the scheme. Gonzalez’s team uncovered a network of domains and servers associated with the fraudulent operation.

The investigation also identified multiple victims from different states, highlighting the far-reaching impact of such scams.

Furthermore, investigators unearthed a network of over 80 domains associated with the scam, with a website known as at its epicenter. Through forensic analysis, the DA’s office identified malicious mobile apps linked to the scam, capable of secretly extracting sensitive user information.

Additionally, the DA highlighted the international nature of these crypto fraud schemes, often facilitated by human trafficking victims in Southeast Asia, stating it poses challenges for localized prosecution and asset recovery efforts.

To combat such scams, Gonzalez’s office seized and 20 related domains, along with three virtual servers hosting these deceptive sites.

The office also initiated a comprehensive public awareness campaign, especially targeting vulnerable communities like the Chinese and Russian populations in Brooklyn, to educate residents about the warning signs and preventive measures against crypto scams.

Gonzalez cautioned against red flags indicative of potential crypto scams, such as unsolicited texts promoting lucrative investments, invitations to join investment groups on messaging platforms, and coercive tactics to download unverified investment apps.

He also advised individuals to research and verify the legitimacy of companies, avoid sharing personal information, and refrain from making investments based solely on online recommendations.

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