Virginia man ‘trusted crypto scammer more than his own family’ before suicide

The family of an 82-year-old Virginia man who committed suicide after falling victim to a pig butchering crypto scam say they’re ‘heartbroken’ that he seemingly trusted the scammer more than his own children, CNN reports.

Dennis Jones took his own life in March after handing over ‘everything he had’ to a scammer posing as a woman called ‘Jessie’ on Facebook.

According to Jones’ social media records, the pair had been exchanging messages for months before he was convinced to invest a large amount of money into a fraudulent crypto project. Once he had, ‘Jessie’ reportedly convinced him to hand over more and more of his cash until ‘he had nothing left.’

During this time, according to his daughter Adrianne, the usually outgoing and optimistic Jones began to step back from his family, prompting them to arrange a meeting at which they would discuss the best way to help get him back on his feet.

However, before the meeting could take place, they were informed that he had taken his own life.

Following his death, Jones’ family discovered the ‘heartbreaking’ messages that he had exchanged with the scammer.

I have been having dark thoughts about my life and it being over. Certainly it looks like my financial life is done,” he wrote in one exchange. “The ultimate pain here is that I have betrayed family trust. This is unbearable.”

“He was talking about having signs of a nervous breakdown. And so these were all shared with the profile,” Adrianne told CNN.

“Instead of sharing with us,” his son Matt added.

Read more: US seizes pig-butchering funds at Evolve Bank

Erin West, a prosecutor dedicated to fighting pig butchering scams, told CNN that scammers are pulling a ‘major psychological stunt’ on the world. “Scammers overseas have figured out a way that they can get victims to trust them over their own families,” she says.

According to CNN, FBI data shows $5 billion was stolen in cryptocurrency fraud in 2023 with $3.96 billion stemming from pig butchering scams. The US is trying to permanently seize USDT from a Binance account in connection with a $1 million pig butchering scam.

West also noted that these scams involve “victims victimizing victims,” and that “the only winners are Chinese gangsters.” Indeed, many of these scammers are victims of human trafficking across Southeast Asia. In March, roughly 1,800 slaves were freed from pig butchering compounds across Myanmar and the Philippines.

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