DoJ Seizes $24 Million in Crypto From Brazilian Scammer

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  • The DoJ has seized $24 million in cryptocurrency belonging to a suspected Brazilian crypto investment scammer
  • Marcos Antonio Fagundes was one of five who ran Indeal, a crypto investment scam that took some $200 million in under two years
  • Fagundes and his associates were arrested in May 2019

A cryptocurrency scam that hoodwinked tens of thousands of Brazilians has led to the Department of Justice (DoJ) seizing $24 million in virtual assets belonging to one of the leaders. The DoJ announced Wednesday that it had seized the haul on behalf of the Brazilian government who had been investigating Indeal, an illegal cryptocurrency investment scam that is thought to have taken around $200 million in under two years.

$200 Million Takes in Less Than Two Years

The DoJ announcement comes 18 months after Indeal was shuttered by Brazilian authorities following complaints from investors who never saw their promised returns. Indeal pretended to be a cryptocurrency investment vehicle that promised investors a 15% return on their investment, when of course it was nothing of the sort. Instead the five leaders, all of whom were arrested last year as part of an operation dubbed Operation Egypto, allegedly misappropriated the funds and rarely traded investors’ money.

Fagundes is charged with several criminal violations of Brazilian financial law, including operating a financial institution without legal authorization, fraudulent management of a financial institution, money laundering, misappropriation of investor funds, and securities law violations.

DoJ Executes Brazilian Court Order

The five ringleaders were arrested in May 2019, one of whom, Marcos Antonio Fagundes, had $24 million worth of cryptocurrency within U.S. borders, likely on an American-owned exchange. The DoJ acted on a Brazilian court order to seize the cryptocurrency, which they have now executed.

Fagundes and the gang are also thought to be behind another cryptocurrency scam, Minerworld, which was subject to a police investigation in April 2018.