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The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has successfully seized $9 million in Tether (USDT) tokens from a criminal group engaged in a romance scam, commonly known as a “pig butchering” operation. This operation targeted American investors, tricking them into investing in fraudulent crypto platforms.

The DoJ revealed that these funds belonged to over 70 victims who were lured into investing in phony cryptocurrency exchanges or protocols, only to find that they could not withdraw their investments later.

In a statement issued on November 21, the DoJ expressed its commitment to combating illegal activities facilitated by cryptocurrencies.

Nicole M. Argentieri, acting Assistant Attorney General of the DoJ criminal division, emphasized the department’s resolve, stating, “This seizure should also serve as a reminder to cybercriminals that, although the current landscape of the cryptocurrency ecosystem may seem like an ideal way to launder ill-gotten gains, law enforcement will continue to develop the expertise needed to follow the money and seize it back for victims.”

The DoJ also acknowledged the assistance provided by Tether, the issuer of USDT, in the investigation and seizure process.

This development follows Tether’s previous announcement that it had frozen $225 million worth of its stablecoin as part of a collaborative investigation with the DoJ and the cryptocurrency exchange OKX. These frozen funds are believed to be connected to the same criminal network.

In related news, Tether is currently embroiled in a legal dispute in London over more than $1 billion deposited into a subsidiary of Britannia Financial Group. Additionally, Tether has disclosed plans to venture into Bitcoin mining, allocating a $500 million investment for this purpose in 2024.