The United States Secret Service has seized more than $100 million in digital assets from malicious actors in fraud-related investigations over the past seven years, CNBC reported.
The federal agency revealed that it had handled around 254 cases since 2015 and that its activities had yielded positive results, and that it had no plans to back down anytime soon.
Secret Service Reveals They Are Tracking Bitcoin Transactions On The Blockchain
According to the agency’s Deputy Director of Investigations, David Smith, the agency’s success is rooted in the way several agents and analysts actively follow the flow of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the blockchain.
This tactic adopted by the Secret Service, an agency more prominent for its protection of US presidents, is akin to an old-fashioned style of surveillance.
Smith noted that tracking a digital currency wallet is very similar to tracking an email address with certain correlated identifiers.
“Once a person and another person make a transaction, and that enters the blockchain, we have the ability to track that email address or that wallet address, if you will, and follow it through the blockchain.”
Moreover, one of the advantages of cryptography seems to have made it a powerful tool in the hands of these criminals. As Smith explained,
“One of the things about cryptocurrency is that it moves money at a faster rate than the traditional format.”
Some cases handled by the agency
Among the cases handled by the agency is an investigation that targeted approximately 900 victims across the United States.
This particular case, handled alongside the Romanian National Police, involved a scheme that posted fake luxury items and advertisements on sales and auction sites and then delivered fake invoices to their victims, giving the impression that the transaction involved legitimate businesses.
The Secret Service said the perpetrators of the scheme then converted their ill-gotten wealth into digital assets, which are part of the funds now seized.
Another of the cases handled by the agency involved a Russian cybercrime syndicate that used a crypto exchange to launder funds, as well as cases involving Bitcoin ransomware payments to criminals in North Korea and Russia.
United States Crypto Seizures
While the US Secret Service is the latest federal agency to reveal its efforts to protect US businesses and investors from malicious actors in the crypto space, other federal agencies have also made considerable efforts to help clear the space of illegal activities.
All these seizures resulted in the US government holding around $4 billion worth of Bitcoin, making it one of the largest holders of the flagship asset behind Shades of grey and Microstrategy.