Tether announced this week that it had collaborated with the Department of Justice (DoJ) and OKX to freeze approximately $225 million in USDT connected to a ‘pig-butchering’ scam.
However, according to blockchain analytics firm ChainArgos, the addresses in question had until recently contained approximately $75 million more, suggesting that the operatives were able to prevent some portion of the funds from being seized.
Several days ago, one of the blocklisted addresses, 0xc7C8f8284c5360D0086a2f0A05BdD07AFdE23246, transferred around $126 million in USDT to 0x36922E39B2Be38f0271A7918Ca46be7884DED849. Interestingly, this wallet isn’t blocklisted.
This address then sent the USDT to 0xCaB9a8391F765f6BEda0b5BAd434b10985BdaAd0, which is also blocklisted. It’s not clear why the intermediary address wasn’t blocklisted and Protos has reached out to Tether for clarification.
Tether was apparently aided in its efforts by OKX and Chainalysis, and made sure to note that if any of these wallets were inappropriately frozen, it would “work quickly with law enforcement and the owners of those wallets to unfreeze them.” It also highlighted that none of these addresses are “associated with Tether’s customers.”
The DoJ also announced today that it has seized nearly $9 million worth of USDT connected to ‘pig-butchering.’
Pig-butchering, or romance scams, are schemes in which someone solicits funds under the false pretenses of romantic interest. The scammers will behave as though interested in their targets and attempt to convince them to send funds, often in the form of USDT due to its ability to be moved and liquidated easily.