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Press Release

United States File Forfeiture Action to Recover Cryptocurrency Traceable to Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
This is the fifth civil forfeiture action filed seeking forfeiture of cryptocurrency traced to fraud schemes targeting Massachusetts victims

BOSTON – The United States Attorney’s Office filed a civil forfeiture action to recover cryptocurrency alleged to be proceeds of a business email compromise (BEC) scheme targeting a Massachusetts resident. The government seeks to forfeit 18.836 bitcoin (BTC) seized from an account located at Binance.US, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian. 18.836 BTC has a current estimated value of approximately $500,000.

In June 2022, an investigation began into a BEC fraud scheme targeting a Massachusetts resident. In a BEC fraud, individuals obtain unauthorized access to email accounts that a business uses to send information about commercial, real estate, and other financial transactions. Targets impersonate individuals expecting to receive money from these transactions and send requests that payments be directed to a network of bank accounts that they control. Perpetrators behind BEC fraud schemes are often located overseas.  

As alleged in court documents, a Massachusetts resident was tricked into wiring $400,000 into a bank account located in California, and some of those funds were subsequently transferred to Binance.US where they were used to purchase 18.836 BTC. Investigators traced the funds to a Binance account, and the BTC was seized in July 2023.  

It is a violation of federal law to use wire communications as part of a scheme to defraud or to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses. The complaint alleges that the seized cryptocurrency was traceable to proceeds of the wire fraud. A civil forfeiture action allows third parties to assert claims to property, which must be resolved before the property can be forfeited to the United States and returned to victims.

This is the fifth civil forfeiture action the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed seeking to forfeit cryptocurrency traced to fraud schemes targeting Massachusetts victims. 

Members of the public who believe they are victims of a cybercrime – including cryptocurrency scams, romance scams, investment scams and BEC fraud scams – should contact

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Christopher DiMenna, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. The civil forfeiture action is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol E. Head, Chief of the Asset Recovery Unit. 

The details contained in the civil forfeiture complaint are allegations. The United States Attorney’s Office has not filed a corresponding criminal action on the matter.

Updated August 24, 2023

Asset Forfeiture