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Top Brazilian Footballers ‘Embroiled in Crypto Scam’ – Which Players Are Involved?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A soccer stadium decorated with an emblem representing the Brazilian flag.
Source: KB3/Adobe

Two top Brazilian professional football (soccer) players claim they have fallen foul of a crypto scam – and say that they were convinced to invest in a fraudulent project by a fellow pro.

Per the media outlets Suno, Lance, and ESPN Brasil, two players have initiated legal proceedings against a company run by a third player. The case was brought by Mayke, who is currently playing at Palmeiras, in São Paulo, Brazil, along with the Nottingham Forest (English Premier League) midfielder Gustavo Scarpa.

The duo has launched a legal suit against a “consultancy” and “financial planning” firm named WLJC. This firm is operated by Willian Bigode, who currently plays at Fluminense, in the Brazilian top division.

Mayke and Scarpa claim they made an investment of over $2 million in “crypto” in May last year on WLJC’s advice. They claim they were told they could expect profits of 3.5% to 5% a month on their stakes.

But they claim that these profits never materialized and that their stakes were not returned when they attempted to “withdraw their funds.”

Both men claimed that Bigode “introduced” them to the project, and their legal case asks for Bigode to be brought to court and for their funds to be returned.

Football Player Bigode: I am a Crypto Scam Victim, too

The media outlets reported that WLJC recommended that Mayke and Scarpa invest their funds in a platform named Xland Holding.

In October 2022, however, Xland was identified by the Public Ministry of the Brazilian state of Acre as “a possible financial pyramid scheme.”

However, Bigode’s legal team has claimed that their client did not act in bad faith – and that he himself is a victim of the Xland scheme.

His legal team stated that Bigode has lost some $3.4 million of his own funds in an investment. And the team claimed that Bigode and his firm had only recommended the project to Mayke and Scarpa after he had been introduced to it by “people he trusted implicitly.”

The legal team wrote:

“WLJC is not a brokerage. [It does not] have the power to make investments on behalf of its clients, as it acts exclusively in the field of financial planning.”

Last month, Indeal, a Brazilian company that is believed to have masterminded a crypto pyramid scheme worth around $193 million, declared its bankruptcy.