Cryptocurrency Firm Tether Freezes $225 Million Linked to Human Trafficking

Cryptocurrency stablecoin firm Tether has voluntarily frozen $225 million worth of its cryptocurrency. This was after it was reported Tether was linked to a human trafficking syndicate in Southeast Asia.

Tether froze the $225 million after the DOJ and the U.S. Secret Service launched an investigation into a human trafficking group that was using Tether for a worldwide “pig butchering romance scam.”

Pig butchering romance scams by definition are “A type of fraud in which criminals lure victims into digital relationships to build trust before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency platforms.”

According to a Tether press release, authorities were able to track the illicit funds by “analyzing the flow of those funds through the blockchain.”

Per Reuters:

Crypto firm Tether said on Monday that it had frozen $225 million worth of its cryptocurrency which it said had been linked to a human trafficking group in Southeast Asia.

The U.S. Secret Service asked Tether to freeze the tokens during a “months-long investigative effort” by Tether and the crypto exchange OKX, Tether said in a blog post, without giving details about the scope or timescale of the investigation.

Tether and OKX collaborated with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on the investigation, Tether said without elaborating.

The crypto tokens were “linked to an international human trafficking syndicate in Southeast Asia responsible for a global “pig butchering” romance scam,” Tether said.

CEO of Tether Paolo Ardoino stated, “Our recent assistance to the Department of Justice underscores our dedication to fostering a secure environment.”

In 2011, the co-founder of Tether, Brock Pierce, was invited to speak at Jeffery Epstein’s Mindshift event at Epstein’s island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Pierce attended the event just 18 months after Epstein was convicted as a sex offender.

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