Law enforcement officials from the U.S. and Brazil have seized more than $20M in crypto funds from an online scam that has defrauded thousands of investors. The joint project between the nations was named Operation Egypto, and the primary suspect is now in custody and awaiting further legal action.
Brazil and U.S. recovers more than $20M
The man that has been in charge of the scam is known as Marcos Antonio Fagundes; he is now in charge of fraudulent management of a financial institution, money laundering, and misappropriation. He was also being charged with a violation of securities laws. U.S. and Brazil are now working hand in hand through the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters treaty.
This has been a great year for bitcoin and crypto; seeing the world’s number one digital currency by market cap now trades for just under $15,000, although it has also been a year filled with fraud noting how far the coronavirus pandemic came and still lingers.
Some of the greatest attempts at crypto thievery this year have come by way of individuals who seek to take over high-profile Twitter accounts and send out messages stating that the follower will have to send their money to unknown addresses hoping that it would be doubled.
Other has attacked particular individuals or online databases, as in Donald Trump’s campaign site. While the scam only lasted around 30 minutes, it is also clear that the line between cyber thieves and their victims gets thinner.
Fagundes has been active between August of 2017 and May of 2019. The internet scam process involved locating and egging users on and then persuading them to invest in his owned companies, which were ultimately designed to invest in the virtual currencies.
While it is believed that certain amounts of the funds have gone into crypto platforms, the rest was utilized to pay for expensive gifts that Fagundes and his associates bought for them, meaning investors saw their money go down the drain and produce zero returns.
A Lot of Money in Demand
In a statement, the Department of Justice elaborated:
While the DOJ and the FBI are currently holding onto the recovered crypto funds, it is estimated that the customers have handed over $200M in financial investments. The departments are now working on redistributing the crypto funds back to the original owners.