The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized more than $260,000 worth of assets, including NFTs and cryptocurrencies, from a reported phishing scammer. According to the forfeiture document released by the FBI on February 4, the agency confiscated assets from Chase Senecal, a resident of Brunswick, a village in the United States.
The crypto assets include 86.5678 ETH ($116,433) and two nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The NFTs are Doodle #3114 ($9,361) and Bored Ape Yacht Club #9658 ($95,495). These listed prices were of the assets at the time of seizure.
Besides crypto assets, investigators also took possession of non-crypto assets: a luxury Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch worth $41,000.
The alleged scammer, Chase Senecal, also known as Horror (HZ) online, was originally exposed as a result of a detailed investigation by ZachXBT, a self-described crypto sleuth, and was exposed in September last year.
ZachXBT’s Investigation Led The FBI To Take Action
Following the investigation, Cam (SIM Swapper) sold access to his Twitter panel to Senecal last June. He then used it to access Twitter accounts and defraud NFT holders. He also used the stolen money to buy an AP watch through the same account.
ZachXBT traced a series of transactions related to many NFT/Crypto attacks. However, the crypto sleuth caught the address when the culprit used a suspicious account to pay for the watch.
On September 1, ZachXBT tweeted:
After months and months of tracking their group it’s nice to know one of the main perpetrators (Chase Senecal) for NFT/crypto phishing attacks has been identified.”
A phishing scam is an online scam where criminals trap people through email, text messages, ads or other means and obtain the target’s information, such as passwords.
The FBI immediately took notice of this significant finding and seized his items weeks later, on October 24, 2022.
The FBI did not officially credit ZachXBT for his investigation. However, on February 3, ZachXBT revealed via Twitter that the asset seizure resulted from his investigation.
1/ I am very happy to share the FBI seized crypto, BAYC 9658, AP watch, and Doodle 3114 from the phishing scammer known as Horror (HZ) aka Chase Senecal as a result of my thread. pic.twitter.com/H1JjOjQNuF
— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) February 3, 2023
“I look forward to hopefully seeing more phishing scammers suffer a similar fate in the future for harming so many people in this space.”
Prior to that case, ZachXBT’s research helped government officials several times. For example, in October last year, France’s national cyber unit praised ZachXBT for its efforts in catching and charging fraudsters who stole $2.5 million worth of NFTs through phishing schemes.
The FBI’s official notice did not provide much information except that all of Chase Senecal’s assets — including an expensive watch — were seized on October 24, 2022.
Due to the lack of clarity, what legal action has been taken against Senecal is not yet known. However, according to Law Enforcement Bulletin released by the FBI, federal forfeiture is a weapon that allows the government to remove a person’s ownership of property involved in a crime without compensation.
The FBI stated:
“It may occur in a civil procedure, like a lawsuit against the item, or after the conviction of an individual in a criminal trial.”
The FBI encourages victims of fraud schemes to come forward and file complaints so that the perpetrators can be punished. A few weeks ago, the FBI confirmed that a North Korean group was behind the $100 million Harmony’s Bridge hack.