US arrests two Chinese nationals for $73 million crypto scam By Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. authorities have charged two Chinese nationals in a cryptocurrency scam that laundered at least $73 million from defrauded victims, the Justice Department said on Friday.

U.S. officials arrested Yicheng Zhang in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to an indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California that same day. Daren Li, a dual citizen of China and St. Kitts and Nevis, was arrested at the Atlanta airport in April.

The United States accused the two of being involved in a type of cryptocurrency investment scam known as pig slaughter, which has become a multibillion-dollar global industry.

The defendants are alleged to have instructed other conspirators to open bank accounts in the United States in the names of shell companies.

Online victims were induced to deposit money into these accounts, funds that were then laundered through U.S. financial institutions and deposited into bank accounts in the Bahamas.

“While fraud in crypto markets takes many forms and hides in many far-flung places, its perpetrators are not beyond the reach of the law,” US Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.

Li and Zhang are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of international money laundering. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count, the Justice Department said.

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