The U.S. seizes $24M in cryptocurrency connected to ‘Operation Egypto’ Scam

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized $24M in cryptocurrencies following investigations linked to Brazilian online investment fraud.

By · Nov 5, 2020 . 6min read

U.S. seizes $24M in cryptocurrency latest news

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized millions of dollars from cryptocurrency accounts on behalf of the Brazilian government. The U.S. authorities have seized about $24M in cryptocurrencies from accounts belonging to a Brazilian crime cartel. Referred to as Operation Egypto, the fraudulent scheme was shut down after misleading tens of thousands of Brazilian investors for over $200 million. Moreover, the scammers pretended to provide cryptocurrency investments. It attracted victims with the assurance of a 15% payout on their capital in the first month.

The crypto scam has since been under observation following a collective operation between authorities in the U.S. and Brazil. It is under the agreement of “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters” between the two countries. The U.S. legal action involving undercover law enforcement work and a forfeiture complaint in a federal court was drawn to Brazilian Marcos Antonio Fagundes’ role in the scheme.

Marcos Antonio Fagundes violated various Brazilian laws.

Fagundes is responsible for various criminal violations of Brazilian law. It includes financial misappropriation, fraudulent management, securities law violations, money laundering, and criminal organization. Brazilian authorities also embraced the scheme’s financial assets. Additionally, the assets involve dozens of luxury vehicles, real estate, high-class jewellery, and an undisclosed amount of cash. 

Brazilian authorities found that the gang was not funding projects in cryptocurrencies. Instead, they were utilizing the investors’ capital for personal shopping. Moreover, they only bought small amounts at a fixed rate, low-yield investments. However, Fagundes promoted his services as an investor of a financial company via the internet and in person. Moreover, he was assuring profit through virtual currency investments.

Recently, CipherTrace blockchain analytics issued a comprehensive guideline that could help law enforcement identify whether foul play spinning around cryptocurrencies was at play in that situation. Moreover, the report suggests various clues that could tip off investigators on unauthorized crypto activity. Features that seemed to not be significant, like phones, old computers, and random pieces of paper, should not be ignored, as they may contain seed phrases and private keys associated with cybercrime.

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