Brooklyn Prosecutors Target ‘Pig Butchering’ Crypto Scam

Prosecutors in Brooklyn seized nearly two dozen web domains associated with a scheme known as “pig butchering,” in which scammers strike online conversations with unsuspecting victims, gain their trust and then steer them into bogus cryptocurrency investments.

Brooklyn-based victims were scammed out of at least $5 million after they were convinced to invest in cryptocurrency by someone they met through a random text message, a dating site or through a WhatsApp group, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

The investments appeared to show tremendous returns, but when the victims tried to withdraw substantial sums they were blocked from their accounts and lost their entire investment, authorities say.

The Brooklyn DA’s office says it seized and 20 other active associated domains in connection with the investigation into the scheme. Three virtual servers hosting those sites have also been seized.

Authorities warn it’s a lucrative and growing scam with victims in multiple states. The masterminds rely on human trafficking victims to help facilitate the scams at compounds in Southeast Asia, prosecutors say.

“Pig butchering is a growing type of scam that defrauds residents of Brooklyn and the entire country out of billions of dollars every year,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.