Minnesota Couple Loses Over $9 Million in a Crypto Romance Scam

A couple from Twin City fell victim to a crypto scam when an unfaithful husband got entangled in an online romance. The fraudster got away with $9.2 million.

Confidence scam

Romance scams are pretty common all over the world, but getting scammed for over $9 million is a rarity. Especially when the swindle involves a crypto investment scheme spiced with a tinge of adultery. But that's exactly what happened to an Eden Prairie resident, who, enticed by the promises of quick riches and true love from a LinkedIn contact, siphoned off millions of dollars from marital savings accounts.

The scheme broke down when the man's wife alerted police that her hubby had been liquidating their investments for the past six months. According to the affidavit, a day before the man called her in panic demanding that she withdraw the remaining money so he could pay the fee to be able to cash in his crypto funds.

From December 21 to June 8, the man made 21 transactions ranging from $100,000 to $2.1 million. The investment was supposed to yield big returns in cryptocurrency. The unfortunate chain of events was started by the promise of romance. The unfaithful husband confessed to the police that his contact "wanted him to leave his wife for her." After getting the man's confidence, the swindler directed him to make deposits for crypto investments.

Overall, the couple lost $9.2 million. "No one in the office has heard of a crypto fraud case as big. In fact, their eyes popped when I told them the amount," John Stiles, spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said in an interview for "Star Tribune", a local outlet who covered the story. "Losses on crypto fraud tend to be for significantly greater amounts than other types of fraud. We have seen senior citizens lose their entire life's savings and take out multiple mortgages on their homes to get more funds for the scam," Stiles added.

Cryptocurrency fraud, especially through social media and dating apps, has become increasingly prevalent, causing billions of dollars in losses. One of the most popular types of scams is so-called pig butchering. It involves targeting victims online or by phone and "feeding" them with elaborate storylines to create a long-term, possibly romantic bond. A victim, "fattened up" with emotional relationship online, is introduced to investment schemes and ultimately "butchered" when their assets have been drained.

Pig butchering scams are common in the crypto space. In March this year, the US Department of Justice announced that it had seized $112 million worth of cryptocurrency linked to crypto investment scams of a pig butchering variety.