The US FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has confiscated two NFTs worth over $100k and 86.5 ETH from a phishing scammer and a $41,000 Audemars Piguet (AP) watch. The supposed scammer, known online as Horror (HZ) and Chase Senecal, in reality, came under the radar after ZachXBT, a blockchain platform, exposed his criminal activities last September.
FBI Seizes Stolen NFTs And Crypto
The NFTs (Doodle #3114 and BAYC #9658) were sold at $9,361 and $95,495. Also, the 86.5 ETH was worth $116,433, but it’s worth about $144,000 presently.
Meanwhile, the full extent of legal proceedings against Senecal is currently unknown. Per the agency’s bulletin, federal forfeiture allows the government to confiscate property involved in a crime without compensation to the owner.
Although the FBI has not publicly acknowledged ZachXBT, the blockchain investigator stated on Twitter that the property seizure was possible due to his investigation. “I hope to see more phishing scammers receive a similar punishment in the future. They have harmed many users in this space.” ZachXBT added.
Following the seizure of a BAYC NFT, community members have humorously suggested that the FBI might use the NFT as its Twitter display picture (DP).
The AP Watch Helped ZachXBT To Identify The Criminal
Significantly, the distinctive AP watch was a key piece of evidence that assisted ZachXBT in revealing Senecal’s identity. It also helped the blockchain detective to track the criminal’s on-chain activity.
ZachXBT gave insight into the situation in a post on medium. He detailed how he came across a social media post of Horroz (HZ) boasting about the new watch.
ZachXBT then approached some of his friends who sold watches and eventually connected with the individual who sold that exact AP watch to the criminal. Unfortunately, Senecal made the payment using the USD Coin, making it easy for ZachXBT to trace the transaction on the blockchain. ZachXBT said:
“The address HZ used to buy the watch received funds from several addresses that were utilized to scam individuals on Twitter using hacked accounts like @ezu_xyz, @Zeneca_33, @JRNYclub, and @deekaymotion.”
Meanwhile, this is not the first instance where ZachXBT’s research has been a crucial factor in aiding government authorities. Last October, France’s cyber unit acknowledged the contribution of ZachXBT’s work in bringing some criminals to book. The alleged fraudsters had stolen NFTs worth about $2.5 million using phishing scams.
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