Brazilian police have swiftly shut down an organised crime ring that allegedly stole $359 million by promising victims substantial returns on Bitcoin investments.
The four-month investigation came to a close on Thursday with police filing charges of fraud, money laundering, criminal association, and forgery against the group of alleged fraudsters.
A total of nine individuals were arrested with more than 50 police officers using 20 vehicles and a helicopter to storm premises in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, and other regional cities.
According to Paraná state government, the suspects assured victims that they would receive 3% to 4% returns per day, with victims being instructed to send Bitcoin to the group’s wallet.
However, when it came to withdrawing the funds, the victims received a message to say that they could not cash out within six months.
As many as 5,000 victims have been identified across six states including Paraná, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Maranhão, and Amapá.
Brazil’s government has taken a cold view on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in the past, with the head of the country’s central bank comparing the digital asset to a pyramid scheme and a “bubble”.
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