The scheme injured 1.3 million people in more than 80 countries; luxury cars and emeralds were found in action
Under investigation for crimes against the national financial system, foreign exchange evasion, false representation, money laundering, usurpation of public property, environmental crime and embezzlement, a group of businessmen who were partners in an investment company found themselves targeted by the Federal Police.
During Operation La Casa de Papel, agents seized about R$4.1 billion in emeralds, luxury cars, money from several countries and gold.
The exact amount is not yet known because by the time this text was closed, the police had finished counting the confiscated items.
According to the investigation, the group is suspected of implementing a transnational financial pyramid scheme in more than 80 countries. The scheme has raised funds from more than 1.3 million people.
The loss to investors is estimated at R$4.1 billion, according to the federal police of Mato Grosso do Sul, where the investigation is being conducted.
Investigations began in August 2019, when Trust Investing’s marketing director, Fabiano Lorite de Lima, was arrested in Dourados, along with Jean Pessoa de Souta and Cláudio Barbosa.
According to the federal police, they were moving towards the border between Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraguay with an armed escort.
During the access, emeralds valued at 100 thousand US dollars were found, which were hidden and had no legal origin. The corporation claims that the invoice supporting the gemstones has been voided.
At a detention hearing in the Federal Court the following day, the three were released on bail.
After that, the Federal Police began to investigate the group and discovered that, in addition to the precious stones, there was a financial pyramid scheme, the operations of which should begin in 2019, “in progress and in full development by the time the operation broke out,” according to an excerpt from the note PF.
“Investigated, with the massive use of social networks, marketing, meetings in several states and countries, hundreds of organized ‘team leaders’, with the structure and support of a religious entity belonging to one of them, worked to collect funds and, therefore, manage a company that offered investment packages/financial contributions from 15 to 100 thousand U$, with the promise of daily profits in very high percentages”, the investigation found.
On social media, the founder of the company, Patrick Abrahão, married to the singer Carioca Perlla, shows a very luxurious life, with several trips, such as Dubai, Cancun and European countries. In the photos, she is always wearing a lot of jewelry and next to luxury cars.
The investors were told by the partners that the company is legal in Estonia and will be part of two financial institutions, however, PF says that all the companies in the group do not actually exist.
“The investigated did not have any authorization to capture and manage the collected funds in Brazil, Estonia or any other country, and they had several warnings from the financial agencies in several countries, such as Spain, Panama, among others, in terms of the lack of authorization and that it’s about a financial pyramid scheme,” the note continues.
The group promised big, easy wins. Through the websites and applications it maintained on social networks, the organization promised that investments would multiply in daily gains, which could reach up to 20% per month and more than 300% per year, “through transactions in the cryptocurrency market. allegedly ‘traders ‘ at the service of the company, which would be used to multiply the invested capital and, also, to encourage those who entered the business to attract new investors, in a mechanism they called ‘binary’, ensuring percentage gains on the invested amounts of the new people attracted by the scheme .”
At the end of last year, the group created two cryptocurrencies, named Truster Coin and Truster Energy.
“Market manipulation was found to artificially value one of the coins by 5,500% in just 15 hours, peaking at 38,000% days later. All this in order to keep the financial pyramid in operation as long as possible, because cryptocurrencies were also used to pay investors”, says PF.
Bank accounts of those under investigation, fictitious companies, relatives, as well as third parties connected to the group and religious entity, were used to transfer the money.
The religious group alone transferred more than R$15 million, in addition to being used to attract investors, seeking to hide and launder the funds.
Payments to investors stopped after the arrest of one of the leaders in Cuba. Then the founders of the organization gave the justification that the Cuban government prevented the company from operating in the country and did not make any payments to the Cubans who participated in the pyramid scheme.
“After that, considering the amount of money taken by the criminal scheme, the investigators began to make it difficult for the injured investors to make payments and, as a guarantee of earnings, they began to set longer and longer terms for redemption, which made payments impossible. amounts invested by investors. The investigation showed that the investigated had agreed on a ‘hacker attack’, a plan that was effectively implemented at the end of 2021,” reports the police.
In the alleged attack, the organization’s leaders claimed a “huge financial loss from the action” and withheld all money from investors, proposing to suspend all payments based on the need for a financial audit.
After the completion of the alleged audit, the group announced the restructuring of the company, in order to give investors new roles. The investigation also points out that there were threats from the “CEO” of the company that anyone who processes or writes incident reports will be identified, prosecuted and will not receive a refund of the amount invested.
In total, six preventive warrants were served against the organization’s leaders and 41 search and seizure orders. Despite being issued by the 3rd Federal Court of Campo Grande, the warrants were executed outside Mato Grosso do Sul, in the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Goiás, Maranhão and Santa Catarina.
There was also the blocking of 20 million US dollars and the kidnapping of money in bank accounts, very high-end real estate, livestock, vehicles, gold, jewelry, luxury items, emerald mines, speedboats and crypto assets in the possession of the investigated persons and legal entities.
They will be held liable for criminal offenses of criminal organization, criminal offenses against the financial system of unauthorized operations, foreign exchange evasion, money laundering, usurpation of mineral assets of the federal community, conducting research, mining or extraction of mineral resources without authorization. competent authority, permission, concession or license, misrepresentation and embezzlement through electronic fraud.
The maximum penalties, added together, can reach 41 years in prison, without prejudice to the loss of property and environmental and tax penalties to be determined.
According to Edgar Marcon, a security expert and former superintendent of the federal police of Mato Grosso do Sul, Edgar Marcon, it is important that people do not believe any promise of easy money and far above the value practiced by any financial institution.
The expert urges people to do their research before jumping into this type of investment. “People who have money to invest, save, even due to lack of investment education, end up agreeing to high interest rates or looking for the best offer. But it’s important to ask for more information about any type of investment, you have to ask for information about everything, you can’t fall for the first miracle offer,” he warns.
For him, people are often blinded by promises of quick and easy money and continue to fall into these pyramid schemes, which the police have been denouncing for years.
“People need to be careful what is being offered, this doubling of assets overnight does not exist in the domestic or international market. Human greed often blinds people,” he says.
Marcon also advises that those interested in investing seek solid institutions and the help of experts registered on the Stock Exchange.
According to the Federal Police, the operation has this name because some of those investigated also have Spanish citizenship and because they have established a billionaire financial pyramid, with its own bank and its own “mint”, producing money through its own crypto assets.
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