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$178M Brazilian ‘Crypto Scam Ring’ Flees Abroad – Where Did Masterminds Go?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
A USB storage device and a smartphone, along with a pair of police handcuffs, rest on a pile of Brazilian banknotes.
Source: Mehaniq41/Adobe

The Brazilian operators of a suspected crypto scam reportedly fled the country just before the police launched a probe into the company behind the project.

Police think the company raised some $178 million in investments from around 7,500 people.

The Brazilian media outlet Livecoins reported that five individuals left the country, with some destined for Dubai and others heading to the USA.

The alleged scam’s masterminds promised victims returns of up to 40% on their investments.

Police in the southern state of Santa Catarina said they had raided a number of addresses and “seized 15 luxury cars.”

They described the outfit as a “cryptocurrency pyramid” that offered “monthly fixed returns” of “20% to 40%” on “crypto investments.”

The individuals are believed to have operated a company in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina’s capital and second-largest city.

In operation codenamed Crypto X, police swooped along with the Fraud Office and the Money Laundering Investigation Office, as well as public prosecutors.

Some 18 properties were searched, but no arrests were made.

Officers added that the alleged masterminds had likely committed “money laundering” offenses.

Police said the alleged scammers had likely “hidden assets” with the help of “intermediaries.”

A prosecution official was quoted as stating:

“The operation was important. It provided a way of retaining the assets of those being investigated in order to try to recoup the damages suffered by the victims.”

The official confirmed that a search for the alleged perpetrators was now underway and that they would be “held accountable” for their actions.

Increase in Brazilian ‘Crypto Scams?’

Crypto scams have been on the rise in Brazil in recent months.

In March, the sporting world was rocked by news of a purported scam allegedly involving some of the nation’s top football (soccer) players.

Police also moved to bust a suspected sextortion ring that used crypto.

And a company suspected of being at the center of a large-scale pyramid-style crypto scam allegedly emptied its offices amid a police investigation.