Brazil’s Federal Police reportedly halted the operations of a criminal gang led by the businessman Francisco Valdevino da Silva, a.k.a “Bitcoin Sheikh.”
The authorities claimed that the wrongdoers defrauded thousands of people in the past few 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 partners on suspicion that they were behind a massive crypto scam that targeted thousands of locals and other countries.
Da Silva (known as “Bitcoin Sheikh”) and his team allegedly ran a dubious digital asset investment platform that promised up to 20% returns to future investors. The criminals lured their victims by assuring them the entity has a huge team of crypto experts committed to delivering profits.
Da Silva and his gang even created their own tokens, which according to the authorities, lacked backing or liquidity.
Interestingly, among the victims were also some celebrities, such as the model Sasha Meneghel who lost over $230,000. Brazilian soccer players whose names were not disclosed joined the list, too.
The investigation, called “Operation Poyais,” determined that the scammers laundered over $766 million worth of digital assets over the past several years. The police confiscated those holdings alongside gold bars, luxury cars, and expensive watches spread across multiple addresses in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, and Parana.
Da Silva’s attorney said the raid was “the usual measure in investigative procedures of this nature.” He also stated that his client is ready to provide clarification on his activities “with the scope of proving the effective regularity and lawfulness of business operations.”
Brazil busted ‘Bitcoin Pharaoh’ too
Last summer, Brazil’s Federal Police cracked down on another fraudulent crypto platform and arrested its leaders. One of them was the notorious Glaidson Acácio dos Santos (known as “Bitcoin Pharaoh”).
Similar to the aforementioned case, the trading venue promised huge returns to people willing to invest their savings in it. Nonetheless, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and over 122,000 individuals ended up conned by the gang.
After lengthy court trials, the Brazilian authorities finally came to a solution. Last month, they ordered dos Santos to reimburse all the cheated investors and creditors with $3.7 billion.