Victim of “Pig Butchering” Scam Traces Stolen Bitcoin to Binance Accounts in $266K Crypto Lawsuit

News | May 30, 2024 By:

On Friday, May 17, 2024, George Edward Fitzgerald, II filed a lawsuit against multiple John Doe defendants and a woman named Lisa, also known as Defendant 1, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The complaint alleges that Fitzgerald was the victim of an elaborate international cryptocurrency fraud and theft scheme. According to the court documents, Fitzgerald became interested in investing in digital currencies like Bitcoin and engaged with Defendant 1 online in 2022. She claimed to have a successful strategy for trading cryptocurrencies and convinced Fitzgerald to transfer funds to a cryptocurrency exchange platform she promoted, telling him she had earned high returns that way.

However, the exchange called “ETX” turned out to be a fake site engineered solely to deceive investors. While it simulated real-time market data and trading, any actions taken by users like Fitzgerald did not actually involve genuine cryptocurrency transactions. Between October 2022 and May 2023, Fitzgerald sent around $180,000 worth of bitcoin and other digital assets from his legitimate accounts to the fraudulent ETX site based on Defendant 1’s fraudulent claims.

When Fitzgerald later wanted to withdraw his funds, the complaint states he encountered various excuses and was told he needed to wire additional money to pay unspecified fees before he could access his assets. A forensic tracing of the blockchain, the digital ledger that records all transactions in Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, showed Fitzgerald’s funds had in fact been moved from his personal wallets to Binance accounts controlled by the unnamed defendants.

The lawsuit, which alleges counts of conversion, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy, seeks to recover Fitzgerald’s stolen cryptocurrency now worth over $266,000 based on current market prices. It also aims to impose a constructive trust over any assets tied to the theft that may still be in the defendants’ Binance wallets.

The case is a prime example of the growing issue of “pig butchering” investment scams emerging from Southeast Asia that deceive victims into believing they are engaged in legitimate cryptocurrency trading.

Going forward, the court will have to identify the real individuals associated with the Binance accounts and determine if they should be compelled to return the funds and face further legal consequences for their role in the international cryptocurrency theft.

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