The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seized, among other non-fungible tokens (NFTs), that includes a Bored Ape Yacht Club#9658, an Audemars Piquet (AP) Royal Oak Watch whose retail price is $141,000, from a phishing scammer, Chase Senecal.
The FBI Haul Includes an Audemars Piquet Watch Worth $141,000
The investigative agency now possesses over $100,000 worth of NFTs, that is, the Bored Ape Yacht Club#9658 and Doodle #3114. This excludes the watch. It is a positive step towards bringing to book scammers and hackers who have been wreaking havoc in the crypto scene.
The response from the FBI follows an independent investigation by a Twitter sleuth back in September 2022.
2/ HZ was responsible for using a Twitter panel to take over accounts like @Zeneca @nounsdao @ezu_xyz @deekaymotion @JRNYclub as well as Discord server attacks @AnataNFT @Lacoste
The thread which started it all I’ve attached below. https://t.co/6dsfZ5jnGl pic.twitter.com/8EYl1yuIik
— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) February 3, 2023
It only took several weeks for them to recover several of those assets, including the two BAYC. BAYC are NFTs on Ethereum.
According to details, forfeited assets were filed in the District of Maine and seized in Brunswick on October 24, 2022.
There are no official charges pressed against Chase at this point. However, because the FBI has taken over assets, which they have evidence are proceeds of crime, there could be a strong case for the scammer.
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) says federal asset forfeiture “is a critical legal tool that serves a number of compelling law enforcement purposes”. Before authorities proceed, there should be a “criminal conviction.” If there is forfeiture, then it “is limited to the property interests of the defendant, including any proceeds earned by the defendant’s illegal activity”.
Chase Senecal, who goes by the name Horror (HZ), has allegedly successfully masterminded several phishing attacks. In the processes he scammed unsuspecting artists, holders, and others.
The NFTs Investigation
In December 2021, the independent Twitter sleuth, ZachXBT, observed that through a series of phishing campaigns and hacks targeting over 600 Discord Servers and more than 10 NFT-related Twitter accounts, HZ had managed to siphon millions of dollars. Among Twitter accounts affected include those of Zeneca and Beeple.
Prominent Discord servers attacked included that of Lacoste.
As of August 2022, 1,355 ETH, excluding assets cashed out, had been mapped out and linked to the hacker.
1/ With all of the NFT Discord hacks over the past few months I thought it would be beneficial to map out one of the groups doing them
Currently $3.9m (1355 ETH) sits in their main wallets which are highlighted below
This number doesn’t include what has already been cashed out pic.twitter.com/4kECBTuNCq
— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) April 25, 2022
The AP watch was a crucial part of ZachXBT’s investigation. After HZ bragged about the watch on social media, he asked a few friends about the seller. Eventually, it was revealed that Chase had purchased the watch using USDC. Fortunately for the investigator, the USDC address associated with the payment was funded by several addresses used to scam people on Twitter.