Crypto scammers dealt a blow to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration – the agency tasked with enforcing the country’s drug laws – by making off with $55,000 in seized Tether (USDT) earlier this year.
This incident occurred due to an intricate scheme that serves as a reminder of the challenges law enforcement faces in the evolving landscape of digital fraud.
The scam unfolded when an observant on-chain investigator detected a transaction that would set the stage for the grand deception. Employing a tactic known as “address poisoning,” the scammer capitalized on the initial five and concluding four characters of the U.S. Marshals Service’ account, mirroring them in a counterfeit crypto wallet.
The perpetrator then airdropped a token into the DEA’s wallet, making it appear as a legitimate transaction and ensnaring the agency in a trap of its own making.
Crypto Scammers Siphon DEA’s Seized Funds
According to Forbes’ recent report, the DEA’s troubles began in May when it seized over $500,000 worth of USDT from two suspicious Binance accounts, suspected of laundering money obtained from drug sales.
The seized funds were diligently stored in secure DEA-controlled Trezor crypto wallets as part of standard forfeiture procedure.
However, a crucial misstep took place during a test transaction involving just over $45 worth of USDT sent to the US Marshals Service. This blunder provided the scammers with the opportunity they needed.
Realizing their mistake only after the US Marshals Service brought the issue to their attention, the DEA swiftly attempted to contact Tether, the issuer of USDT, to freeze the ill-fated funds. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain, as the money had already been siphoned away.
Collaborative Pursuit Of Justice
The DEA, in tandem with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has taken up the mantle of investigating this audacious attack. The stolen funds, which were converted into Ether and Bitcoin, were tracked to a new wallet.
Despite the agencies’ relentless efforts, the identity of the scammer remains a mystery. The breadcrumbs of evidence currently lead to two Binance accounts that facilitated the attacker’s wallet gas fees, linked to Gmail addresses.
In their pursuit of the truth, the DEA and FBI are now seeking assistance from technology giant Google. The hope is that the Gmail accounts associated with the scam will yield vital clues to unmask the individuals responsible for orchestrating this intricate crypto scam.
The incident serves as a cautionary tale, exposing the complexities and challenges that law enforcement agencies face in the digital realm. As cryptocurrency continues to evolve, so do the tactics of those seeking to exploit it for personal gain.
Featured image from Bitcoin Wisdom