The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has been cleared of any involvement in a lawsuit related to an online scam on the dating app Tinder.
On May 22, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant dismissed the case, stating that there was no evidence linking Binance Holdings Ltd. to the alleged theft. The scam involved a Texas woman, Divya Gadasalli, who claimed to have lost over $8 million after being deceived by a man named “Jerry Bulasa,” whom she met on Tinder.
Gadasalli asserted that Bulasa convinced her to transfer millions of dollars as part of a scheme known as “pig butchering.” This scam strategy involves building a fake relationship over weeks or months to trick the victim into sending funds.
In March 2022, Gadasalli filed a complaint against Binance, along with other defendants such as TD Bank, Abacus Federal Savings Bank, and the Poloniex exchange, seeking injunctive relief.
Initially, Gadasalli argued that Binance’s exchange services facilitated the scam. She claimed that Binance and Binance.US were the same entity and that people used virtual private networks (VPNs) to access the platform. However, Judge Mazzant ruled that Gadasalli failed to provide any concrete evidence of Binance’s involvement or demonstrate the court’s jurisdiction over the company.
Furthermore, the judge highlighted that Gadasalli could not prove that the fraudulent activities occurred in Texas since Binance and Binance.US were not allowed to operate there. Although it was alleged that the stolen money might have been converted to cryptocurrency using Binance at some point, there was no indication that Texas was directly involved in those transactions.
This ruling represents a small victory for Binance, which continues to face regulatory scrutiny in the United States. In late March, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a lawsuit against Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, accusing them of trading violations, market manipulations, and other misconduct. CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam further alleged that Binance executives knowingly operated outside U.S. commodities laws.