U.S. Secret Service Seizes Funds From Bahamian Bank Deltec Amid Fraud Investigation

U.S. authorities were authorized to confiscate up to roughly $58 million from the bank’s U.S. accounts.

AccessTimeIconJul 18, 2023 at 4:08 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 20, 2023 at 11:13 p.m. UTC

U.S. authorities seized funds belonging to Deltec, a Bahamian bank that serves crypto firms, in June amid an investigation into international money laundering, wire and bank fraud, federal documents show.

The documents, unsealed in federal court on Monday, reveal the Secret Service executed several seizure warrants to confiscate funds from the bank’s U.S. accounts amid their investigation into “international criminal money laundering syndicates operating cryptocurrency investment and other wire fraud scams.” The seizures were authorized on June 12 and 23.

“Victims were fraudulently induced to transfer money into shell companies, at which point the money underwent a series of transfers, generally ending overseas, designed to conceal the source, nature, ownership, and control of the funds,” the affidavit reads.

The Secret Service received authorization to confiscate up to roughly $58 million from a custodial account opened with Mitsubishi UFJ Trust in New York by Deltec on behalf of its corporate clients.The total amount of funds officials ultimately seized remains unclear.

The Secret Service did not immediately responded to CoinDesk’s request for comment.

A representative for Deltec Bank told CoinDesk the case authorities are investigating relates to crimes committed by individual actors and denied any wrongdoing.

"Deltec Bank has been proactively cooperating with the related investigation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in order to provide information and assistance consistent with applicable laws," the representative said.  "We believe that Deltec Bank has a legitimate claim, under U.S. laws, that the cash seized from its account at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking should be returned, and it intends to assert such claim as part of the forfeiture process defined under U.S. law."

UPDATE (23:03 CET): Clarifies amount of funds seized.

UPDATE (00:013 CET): Adds statement from Deltec Bank representative.


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Elizabeth Napolitano

Elizabeth Napolitano is a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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