Woman Falls For ‘Pig Butchering’ Scam, Handsome ‘French Wine Trader’ Gets $450K

Tech Executive Shreya Datta, 37, lost $450,000 in a “pig butchering scam’ to a con man posing as a handsome French wine trader called ‘Ancel Mali’ after she met him on the Hinge app, and the two began exchanging WhatsApp messages.

The new scam is called ‘pig butchering,’ in which romance hustlers charm single individuals into investing in fake cryptocurrencies. The victims are ‘fattened up’ with a fake romantic relationship before being butchered by fraudulent investment advice.

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Datta told the Philadelphia Inquirer she was lured in by Ancel’s devotion to her after months of using other dating apps. Ancel’s profile image was a German fitness influencer who spoke to Datta for months, eventually convincing her to put money into a fake investment app.

Ancel & Datta never met in person, but they spoke via video chat twice, but Ancel only showed his dog on the call.

Shreya Datta

Datta, who earns a six-figure salary in a global tech firm, told the Inquirer she had felt as though she had “a hole in my soul for not having a man in my life.’

‘I was in a trance,’ she said, adding, ‘It’s like my psychology was hacked.’

The ‘pig butchering’ con is a slow, methodical scam with the scammer engaging in a months-long relationship to build trust.

Crooks often allow victims to withdraw money easily from the investment app initially, but they lose that option once they have invested heavily.

Datta talked harmlessly on Hinge with Ancel until they moved to WhatsApp, where he began discussing his dream of achieving ‘wealth freedom,’ adding he was interested in cryptocurrencies.

He explained: ‘So that I don’t have to work all my life, and I can have more time to accompany my lover to travel around the world, leaving footprints of our love in every corner of the world.’

The con began small, and on Ancel’s advice, she downloaded a crypto trading app through a link he sent her and converted $1,000 of her savings into digital currency through the exchange platform Coinbase.

The money went to a trading app, and she watched it grow into $1,250, which she could withdraw immediately.

The amounts grew more prominent, and then she invested $6,000, which had grown to $9,000.

Ancel told her she would need to up her investment mounts to make more money and urged her to sell her stocks and take out personal loans.

When she couldn’t tap into her 401K as it sparked questions at work, he snapped: ‘Why can’t you control your own money?’

After successfully liquidating her retirement fund, she had invested $450,000 into the fake app by the end of March. The app claimed her money had more than doubled.

But when she attempted to withdraw it, she received a message saying she had to pay 10 percent personal income tax.

From there, Datta suspected she had been scammed and called her brother, a lawyer in London, who hired a private investigator and discovered the account was fraudulent.

Datta has filed reports to the FBI, and her family has bailed her out of the debt.

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Coinbase also froze her account after the scam, writing in an email it was ‘concerned’ she had sent money to a ‘fraudulent investment platform.’

Datta said: ‘Sometimes I’m like, ‘It’s just money. Some days I’m like, ‘I should just cry.”

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