The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is said to have taken possession of 86.5 ether (ETH) as well as two nonfungible tokens (NFTs) with a combined value of over $100,000 from a phishing scammer.
The suspected con artist in issue, Chase Senecal, also known as Horror (HZ) online, was originally uncovered as a result of a comprehensive investigation that was conducted by an independent blockchain investigator named ZachXBT and publicised in September 2022.
The formal statement that was sent out by the FBI on February 3 said that Seneca's property, which included a watch with a value of $41,000 made by Audemars Piguet called a royal oak watch, was "seized for federal forfeiture for violation of federal law."
Aside from mentioning that all of the property was taken into custody on October 24, 2022, the letter from the FBI did not provide a great lot of more information on the incident. The confiscated non-fungible tokens (NFTs) included Bored Ape Yacht Club#9658 and Doodle #3114, which, at the time of the seizure, had respective values of $95,495 and $9,361.
At the time of the seizure, the value of the 86.5 ETH was determined to be $116,433, but it is now estimated to be $144,000.
At this moment, the exact extent of the legal procedures that have been brought against Senecal cannot be determined due to a lack of clarity. However, a law enforcement advisory published by the FBI states that federal forfeiture is a weapon that gives the government the ability to "remove without recompense for the person ownership of property engaged in a crime."
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), this kind of thing "may arise in a civil proceeding, such a lawsuit against the item, or after the conviction of a person in a criminal prosecution."
The on-chain detective ZachXBT revealed on February 3 through Twitter that the property seizure did "occur as a consequence" of his investigation, despite the fact that the FBI has not publicly acknowledged ZachXBT's contribution to the case in any way.
ZachXBT commented, "I look forward to possibly seeing more phishing fraudsters face a similar fate in the future for injuring so many people in this arena." "I look forward to seeing more phishing scammers suffer a similar fate in the future."
People in the community have joked that as a result of the recent seizure of a Bored Ape NFT, the FBI will change its profile image to that of Ape #9658.
During the course of the inquiry, ZachXBT was able to uncover Senecal's identity and on-chain behaviour with the assistance of many crucial indicators, one of which was the flashy watch.
ZachXBT explained that after seeing HZ brag about the new watch on social media, he asked "around a few mutual friends who sell watches" and eventually managed to get in contact with the person who sold that particular AP watch to Senecal. Zach's explanation was included in a medium post that was published on September 2, 2022.
Unfortunately for Senecal, the transaction was reported to have been completed on the blockchain using USD Coin as the medium of exchange (USDC).
This is not the first time that research conducted by ZachXBT has been an important factor in assisting governmental officials. In October 2022, the national cyber unit of France acknowledged ZachXBT's efforts in helping it capture and prosecute a gang of accused fraudsters suspected of stealing $2.5 million worth of NFTs using phishing schemes. ZachXBT was able to assist in the investigation because to information provided by ZachXBT.