"Crypto is not real; it's air," the police told me
My fear of reporting to law enforcement was worse than I had imagined.
After my crypto tracing report returned, the wallet tracing showed that my funds were still in a wallet, this gave me a glimmer of hope.
However, I never reported my case to the local police because I didn't think my local police officer could do anything for a large-scale crime like a pig butchering scam. There was barely any news when I learned I was slaughtered in the scammers' elaborate scheme from March to July 2022.
After six months of struggling through the truth of my reality, in January 2023, I went to my local police station near Atlanta, Georgia to have a report filed in hope that law enforcement's involvement would bring a higher probability of recovering my funds.
After summarizing my cybercrime, the officer didn't know what to tell me, so he said he would consult with his team.
The officer returned with a detective, and the first question out of her mouth was, "How did this happen?"
When she heard about the investing part of the story, she asked who my broker was. I needed clarification with this question since I had invested in stocks and even crypto before the scam, and I didn't have a broker.
Long story short, her definition of legal investing involves a broker.
Then she continued to tell me that I willingly put my money out there for someone. If a brokerage was not involved; there was no protection.
Though she did not laugh or mention how gullible I was to fall for this "too good to be true" investment, I could sense the judgmental energy in the room.
My anxiety started kicking in at that moment, and I doubted myself again.
My brain thought, "It was a bad choice to come here today!"
"Why am I making a fool out of myself?"
Maybe it was just in my head thinking they could have made better choices of responding to a victim than making me relive my victim story to validate the shame of victimhood.
While processing my story, I started defending myself and told them, "I saw red flags. Still, I continued to invest more because this scammer had developed a trusting bond and relationship with me when I could withdraw money from my account and see my profit grow daily."
At one point in the conversation, they said verbatim, "Cryptocurrency is not real; it's air. Once you put it in, it's gone."
I was stunned to realize how under-educated the people we depend on to help serve and protect us were about crimes happening right under their noses.
It was like I was speaking to aliens about the subject matter even though we spoke the same language fluently.
I became more lost when I tried to reach out for help.
My biggest fear came true when law enforcement didn't understand or want to understand as I tried to tell them more about the crime.
The story became an eye-opener as I mentioned that certified crypto tracers had traced my funds to an existing wallet.
The misunderstanding was beyond what I had imagined when they never glanced at the report I had printed for them to look into what I had to say.
But because they believed "cryptocurrency was air", whatever I had in my report was unreal. They continued to tell me that I was being scammed by paying crypto tracers to trace something that was not traceable.
Ultimately, my case was like air to them because it was a crypto crime.
My glimmer of hope quickly dissipated through the cold air in the room, so they put in some heartfelt words like, "I'm sorry this happened to you, but there's nothing we can do for you. This is a case for the FBI."
I became more lost when I tried to reach out for help after refinancing two of my rental homes as a property manager and having to sell one to get back on my feet. I thought I was one step closer to closure when I was able to afford a crypto tracing. The tracing revealed my life savings of almost $400,000 still existing in a Binance wallet and an OKX wallet, but I was pushed 2 steps back when law enforcement turned me away because of ignorance of what they can and should try to do.
All I needed was a police report, and they told me they couldn't write it because I willingly put in the money, and we didn't have a suspect. "Even if we have an IP address, we don't know who was behind the person you sent the money to."
Then I told them I accepted my funds were gone but would it not be their duty to write a report to raise awareness to prevent someone from falling victim?
They replied, "This stuff is all over the internet, and it happens all the time; there are always new tactics these scammers are going to get you; you can't trust the internet."
I was already taken aback when they neglected to look at my report and to verify for themselves. Still, their advice was more baffling to know that we live in a world full of crimes and not enough action is taken to protect the citizens.
Nonetheless, my experience with law enforcement made me feel like an unlucky victim and an airhead for risking all my life savings.
My voice was not heard or understood; they made me feel like everything that came out of my mouth was "just air."
Even if my case was just air to them, hope is still in the air for me. And it should be for all victims.
As my next action step was to contact the FBI and the Secret Service in my state, I am still waiting for them to call back for a full report. It's been almost a month, and I've realized it will be a long waiting time.
In the meantime, learning and paying attention to my airflow through meditation has helped me gain more patience and perspective, as I'm not holding my breath about recovering my funds.
But I am staying proactive in reaching out as much as I can. If my story alone does not make a difference to law enforcement, I hope all victims who have experienced this traumatic crisis will join me to raise our voices and ask for help.
Even if our voice goes unheard by law enforcement, dare to share your story to impact other victims to form a real connection because you are not alone.
Because by speaking our story and helping each other, along with those in law enforcement who are working hard to get attention to our cases, is the best way we will be able to bring justice to the world and, more importantly, healing to ourselves.