Francisco Valdevino da Silva has been implicated for targeting thousands of Brazilians and citizens of other countries.
100 police agents were spread across Brazil and raided 20 addresses linked to a network that was said to be part of a crypto fraud network. This network was allegedly controlled by Francisco Valdevion da Silva also known as “Sheik dos Bitcoins” or the “Bitcoin Sheikh.”
Da Silva and his group have been suspected of defrauding thousands of Brazilians and citizens of at least 10 other countries and laundering up to $766 million according to the claims of the authorities.
Victims of Da Silva were promised up to 20% on their investments as they were baited by claims of a large team of expert crypto trades that were laser focused on getting high returns for the investors involved. The group created and marketed their own crypto as well. The crypto they created had no backing or liquidity.
G1 the local news source of Brazil stated several domestic celebrities were also defrauded by the scheme which include Sasha Meneghel who is the daughter of Brazilian tv star Xuxa. She reportedly was tricked out of $230K USD as were a few soccer players who have yet to be named.
The raids, nicknamed “Operation Poyais” by the federal police, were the result of an international investigation that started this past March upon a request from the U.S Department of Homeland Security for international police cooperation through Interpol.
Da Silva is not the only one to be taken down for this situation, his deeds have seen his family implicated as well as they will be seen as employees and recipients of the ill-gotten funds.
Interestingly enough the Operation name came about as a reference to a nineteenth-century Scotsman named Gregor MacGregor who sold bonds and deeds to a country called Poyais- this country did not exist.
Not the only scheme
There are many schemes going on lately with crypto as the main vehicle for these fraudulent activities.. Rathnakishore Giri of New Albany convinced over 150 investors to give him 10 BTC and over $12 million in cash promising big returns. The money was then used to pay for his very own vacations which included yacht rentals and high-profile luxury goods. A civil enforcement action was levied against him by the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission.
The bitcoin-friendly presidential candidate for Argentina, Javier Miles was sued for promoting a crypto Ponzi scheme when he shilled CoinX- a crypto investment platform to 1.3 million followers on instagram. CoinX was warned that it had no legal right to operate in Argentina by the National Securities Commission and was ordered to halt operations, none of the investors received the expected returns.
A man in Florida defrauded more than $100 million from investors by promising returns with a new state-of-the-art trading bot. David Nicholas guaranteed daily returns to the investors making major promises and stating his bot was the way of the future for trading, the problem was the bot didn’t exist. Nicholas pleaded guilty
Not all bad
There are many more scams and Ponzi schemes sullying the good name of crypto and what it truly stands for- growth and decentralization. Though all of these scams may seem to make crypto look darker than it should, the truth is that they are not the prevailing method of use. The fact is that new technology will always have issues to work out but when it is done there should also be a time where the end result is a properly regulated safe ecosystem. The internet wasn’t always the way it is now and new evolutions always bring new challenges. As usual do your own research and stay safe out there.