Bitcoin Involved in Elderly Crypto Fraud Scheme Subject to US Government Forfeiture

Crime, News | March 6, 2024 By:

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, the US Government filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina seeking forfeiture of 0.17366943 Bitcoin that was allegedly involved in a crypto fraud scheme targeting an elderly victim.

According to court documents, the South Carolina Cyber Fraud Task Force had been investigating a transnational criminal group perpetrating social engineering scams against seniors. In December 2023, the victim in this case attempted to contact Etsy customer service regarding an unfulfilled purchase. However, he was connected to members of the fraud ring.

The documents state that over the phone, the fraudsters were able to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and enroll him in online banking without his knowledge. They then conducted a $10,000 cash advance on his credit card and transferred the money to make it appear a refund had been deposited.

The victim was instructed to withdraw almost $10,000 in cash from his account and deposit it into a Bitcoin ATM using a cryptocurrency address provided by the criminals. He was then sent to withdraw additional funds but went to his bank and reported the fraud after becoming suspicious.

During the investigation, authorities determined the Bitcoin from the ATM transaction was sent to a crypto wallet belonging to crypto exchange Binance. With a court order, they obtained records tying the wallet to an individual in India named Salaman Shahzada. Further analysis found the wallet had received payments from other reported frauds during the period Shahzada controlled it.

In the complaint, prosecutors argue that the 0.17366943 Bitcoins are subject to forfeiture as property involved in wire fraud and money laundering. If successful, the cryptocurrency valued at approximately $8,200 would be transferred to the U.S. government.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.