The US Justice Department said on Wednesday that it has seized $24 million cryptocurrency from a Brazilian crime cartel. The funds are linked to the Operation Egypto crypto scam which conned thousands of Brazilians and extracted $200 million from them.
Operation Egypto cons Brazilians
The US authorities confiscated about $24 million in digital currencies from the Brazilian cartel. The money came via Operation Egypto which offered thousands of Brazilians a 15% return on investment within the first month. The attractive rate of interest helped them lure investors. The US and Brazilian authorities worked on a joint operation to dismantle the cartel under the “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters” treaty.
The legal action from the US was connected with Brazilian Marcos Antonio Fagundes and his alleged role in the fraudulent scheme. It included undercover law enforcement work and a forfeiture complaint filed in court. Fagundes is charged with numerous criminal violations of Brazilian law. Charges include money laundering, securities law violation, criminal organization, financial misappropriation, and fraudulent management.
Brazilian authorities also seize assets
Authorities in Brazil have also seized the financial assets of the scheme including high-end jewelry, dozens of real estate, luxury vehicles, and an undisclosed amount of cash. After the investigations, authorities suggest that 5 organizations and 13 individuals were involved in the scam. The scheme’s perpetrators were not investing money into cryptocurrencies. Instead, they were using clients’ money for funding their personal expenses. A small amount of these funds was invested in low-yield, fixed-rate investments as well.
The US government also located and seized some Bitcoin accounts linked to three terrorist groups earlier this year. It was the largest seizure of its type and was worth millions of dollars. In the forfeiture complaint, the authorities have included schemes for financing terror groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and arranging finances for Hamas. The jihadist and other violent groups have been locked out of traditional finance because of which they turn to Bitcoin and other alternative methods.