US gov’t seeks to forfeit crypto seized on Binance in fraud case

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The US Attorney’s Office has filed a civil forfeiture action to recover crypto proceeds of a business email compromise (BEC) fraud scheme that targeted a company in Massachusetts, according to a press release on Tuesday evening.

The government is looking to forfeit crypto seized from seven accounts held at crypto exchange Binance, which contain bitcoin, tether, shiba inu, Binance coin, and more.

The BEC fraud in question came to the attention of investigators in March 2022, when a fraudulent email tricked the Massachusetts company into wiring almost $900,000 to a bank account in California.

That money went through another bank account and was then converted to bitcoin on a crypto exchange — then, transferred through a series of other crypto addresses “in a manner consistent with tactics employed in money laundering transactions,” the release said.

Eventually, a portion of the funds ended up on Binance. They were seized by authorities in August and September 2022.

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Using wire communications as part of a scheme to defraud or obtain money or property through false or fraudulent pretenses is a violation of federal law. The complaint alleges that the seized currency represents proceeds from wire fraud and/or property involved in money laundering.

A civil forfeiture action enables third parties to assert claims to the property, which must be resolved before the property can be forfeited to the US and returned to the victims.

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