The Brazilian Federal Police stopped the operations of a criminal gang led by businessman Francisco Valdevino da Silva, also known as “Bitcoin Sheikh”.
Authorities claimed the crooks defrauded thousands of people in recent years and laundered up to 4 billion Brazilian reals ($766 million).
Another Crypto Ponzi Scheme in Brazil
GloboNews revealed that Brazilian law enforcement agents raided the address of da Silva and many of his associates on suspicion of being behind a massive crypto scam that targeted thousands of locals and other countries.
Da Silva (known as the “Bitcoin Sheikh”) and his team allegedly ran a dubious digital asset investment platform that promised up to 20% returns to prospective investors. Criminals lured their victims by assuring them that the entity has a large team of crypto experts committed to making a profit.
Da Silva and his gang even created their own tokens, which authorities said had no backing or liquidity.
Interestingly, the victims also included some celebrities, such as model Sasha Meneghel who lost more than $230,000. Brazilian soccer players whose names were not revealed also joined the list.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Poyais,” determined that fraudsters laundered more than $766 million in digital assets over the past few years. Police seized these properties alongside gold bars, luxury cars and expensive watches spread across various addresses in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and Paraná.
Da Silva’s lawyer said the raid was “the usual measure in investigative proceedings of this nature”. He also stated that his client is willing to provide clarifications about his activities “with the aim of demonstrating the effective regularity and legality of the commercial operations”.
Brazil also broke the “Bitcoin pharaoh”.
Last summer, Brazil’s Federal Police cracked down on another fraudulent crypto platform and arrested its leaders. One of them was the famous Glaidson Acácio dos Santos (known as “Bitcoin Pharaoh”).
Similar to the case mentioned above, the mall promised great returns to people willing to invest their savings there. However, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and more than 122,000 people ended up being scammed by the band.
After long court trials, the Brazilian authorities finally reached a solution. Last month, they ordered dos Santos to repay all defrauded investors and creditors $3.7 billion.
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