The Brazilian Federal Police has reportedly stopped the operations of a criminal gang led by businessman Francisco Valdivino da Silva, also known as the “Bitcoin Elder.”
Authorities alleged that the perpetrators defrauded thousands of people over the past few years and laundered up to 4 billion Brazilian reals ($766 million).
Another Crypto Ponzi scheme in Brazil
GloboNews has revealed that Brazilian law enforcement agents raided Da Silva’s address and several of his associates on suspicion of being behind a large-scale cryptocurrency scam targeting thousands of locals and other countries.
Da Silva (better known as “Bitcoin Sheikh”) and his team allegedly ran a dubious digital asset investment platform that promised returns of up to 20% to potential investors. The criminals lured their victims by assuring them that the entity had a large team of crypto experts committed to making money.
Da Silva and his gang even created their own tokens, which authorities said lacked support or liquidity.
Interestingly, the victims also included some celebrities, such as model Sasha Mengele, who lost more than $230,000. Also joining the list were Brazilian footballers, whose names have not been revealed.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Boyas, concluded that fraudsters had laundered more than $766 million in digital assets over the past few years. The police confiscated this property along with gold bars, luxury cars and expensive watches spread over several addresses in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and Parana.
Da Silva’s lawyer said the raid was “the usual procedure in investigation proceedings of this kind”. He also stated that his client is willing to provide clarifications about his work “to the extent that the validity and legitimacy of business operations are effectively demonstrated”.
Brazil also beat the ‘Pharaoh of Bitcoin’
Last summer, the Brazilian Federal Police launched a crackdown on another fraudulent crypto platform and arrested its leader. One of the infamous was Glaidson Acácio dos Santos (better known as “Bitcoin Pharaoh”).
Similar to the above case, the trading site promised huge returns to the people who were willing to invest their savings in it. However, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and more than 122,000 individuals have been duped by the gang.
After long trials, the Brazilian authorities finally came up with a solution. Last month, they ordered dos Santos to pay $3.7 billion to all fraudulent investors and creditors.
The arrest of a ‘Bitcoin Sheikh’ by the Brazilian police after it stole more than $766 million (report) first appeared on CryptoPotato.