Brooklyn DA warns of prolific 'pig slaughter' cryptocurrency scam
6 mins read

Brooklyn DA warns of prolific 'pig slaughter' cryptocurrency scam

By Hamodia Staff

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez announces measures to combat 'pig butchering' cryptocurrency scams. (Brooklyn DA's Office)

brooklyn – District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Thursday that his Virtual Currency Unit has successfully disrupted a “pig slaughter” operation, and he is warning Brooklynites about a cryptocurrency scam that has defrauded people across the United States of millions. Dollars have been defrauded.

“Pig slaughter” refers to the practice of interacting with an unknown person online – via a random text message, a social media contact, or by adding them to a WhatsApp or another online group – gaining their trust and then getting them to invest. Leading to cryptocurrency through fake websites and apps. Investments show tremendous returns on paper, but when victims try to withdraw large amounts their accounts are blocked and their investments are lost.

Gonzalez said at a press conference Thursday that he founded the virtual currency unit in late 2023 after hearing numerous complaints from Brooklyn residents who had lost large sums of money in cryptocurrency scams. One was a 51-year-old woman who reported to the NYPD in March 2023 that she lost $22,680 after being added to online chat groups discussing crypto investments. He was advised to download an app from and later he made eight deposits, increasing his profits rapidly. Her account grew to a total of $387,495, but when she tried to withdraw her initial investment, she was told she would have to pay taxes. When he complained, he was blocked from the chat group and lost his money.

The investigation revealed that his purported cryptocurrency investments were transferred through multiple crypto addresses, consistent with money laundering. It was ultimately deposited into an account at a foreign cryptocurrency exchange and redeemed by an individual in a region beyond US jurisdiction, possibly China. The investigation revealed additional victims of the same scheme from California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois who had interacted with and lost a total of $366,665.

Analysis of cryptocurrency transactions and domain registry records identified more victims and revealed a network of approximately 80 domains associated with this fraudulent cryptocurrency investment scheme. The total loss to identified victims exceeds one million dollars.

Pig slaughter is a fascinating and growing global scandal. The masterminds of the schemes rely on human trafficking victims to help facilitate the scams at premises that have been identified primarily in areas of Southeast Asia. The international aspect of the scheme makes it particularly challenging for local prosecutor's offices to prosecute individual bad actors or recover the stolen funds. The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office took action to disrupt the scheme by seizing and 20 other active associated domains. Three virtual servers hosting those sites have also been seized. Additionally, forensic analysts were able to download and analyze cryptocurrency apps advertised on scam websites. Their analysis revealed that these were not legitimate apps – they contained malware, which was able to covertly collect usernames and passwords from the user's phone.

The District Attorney's Office received numerous similar complaints from Brooklyn residents, with losses totaling more than $4 million.

“Awareness and education are the first and best line of defense against these major scams,” Gonzalez said. “Investment returns that seem too good to be true are almost always just that – fake. Therefore, I urge everyone to be very suspicious of anyone they have not met in person who offers a lucrative investment opportunity in cryptocurrencies.

Gonzalez said warning signs that someone is trying to trick you into a cryptocurrency scam include:

  • You get a “misogynistic” text from a stranger who tries to initiate a friendship and talk about how much money they made investing in cryptocurrencies.
  • You are added to a group chat on WhatsApp or Telegram that offers advice on investing in cryptocurrencies with promises of getting rich quick.
  • Someone on Facebook brags about how much money they've made in cryptocurrency and tells you they can help you get rich.
  • Someone you have never met in person starts giving you cryptocurrency investment advice and promising returns on investments that sound too good to be true.
  • You are directed to download an app to track your investments from the cryptocurrency website of a company you've never heard of before, and not from an official mobile app store.
  • A financial advisor or customer support of a cryptocurrency website communicates with you through Telegram or WhatsApp.
  • You are asked to invest in cryptocurrencies by personally handing over large amounts of cash to couriers and company representatives.
  • You can make small withdrawals initially but cannot withdraw any large amount without paying taxes or additional fees.

Gonzalez also shared the following tips on how people can protect themselves from these cryptocurrency scams:

  • Don't trust cryptocurrency investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.
  • Never invest in cryptocurrencies based on advice from someone you have never met in person.
  • Do not download investment apps from unverified cryptocurrency investment websites.
  • Don't install apps that force you to override your phone's security features.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a company. If you are unsure whether something is legal, ask a friend, family member or contact the KCDA Command Center.
  • Never allow programs like AnyDesk to be downloaded that allow remote access to your computer.
  • Don't pay more money to try to recover your investment from a cryptocurrency website.
  • Check if a cryptocurrency exchange is licensed to operate in New York State Or call the New York State Department of Financial Services hotline at 800-342-3736.

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