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Brazilian Police Seek to Freeze Crypto Holdings of Suspected Fraudsters

Two Federal Police officers in Brazil approach a building.
Source: Joa Souza/Adobe

Brazilian police have launched a large-scale operation, codenamed Spin-Off, targeting suspected fraudsters involved in electronics trading. As part of this operation, the police have requested courts to freeze the crypto holdings owned by the individuals involved. The operation is being carried out by the Federal Police and the Special Department of Federal Revenue.

The raid conducted by the operation took place in the states of São Paulo, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul. A total of 180 federal police officers and 74 tax auditors were involved in this endeavor. In order to carry out their search and seizure activities, the officers received 50 warrants from the courts, covering various cities including Cuiabá, Várzea Grande, Sinop, Alta Floresta, Rondonópolis, Ribeirão Preto, and Ponta Porã.

To secure the crypto wallets of the suspected fraudsters, the investigators obtained freezing orders from a branch of the Federal Criminal Court. This suggests that the wallets in question are hosted on domestic crypto exchange platforms. However, the specific platforms involved were not disclosed by the police.

The police have not revealed the value of the frozen holdings or the types of cryptocurrencies involved in this case. The objective of the operation, according to the police, is to dismantle the criminal organization behind a complex financial scheme. The organization is believed to have purchased electronics items from overseas buyers and sold them to domestic buyers.

The police suspect that the group has been moving substantial amounts of cash and/or crypto received from electronics buyers into accounts associated with “paper” companies. These companies, registered under the names of intermediaries, are considered fronts used to obscure the origin and purpose of the money and/or crypto being sent to overseas vendors.

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Brazilian Police Freeze ‘Criminals’ Crypto’

According to investigators, the targeted ring is estimated to have sold approximately $24.3 million worth of goods through this scheme, without declaring their operations to customs officials, tax bodies, or the police. In addition to freezing the crypto holdings, search warrants have been issued for addresses associated with traders and suppliers who may have participated in this fraudulent scheme.

Based on the evidence collected, the suspects may face indictments on charges of embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering. If found guilty, they could potentially face lengthy prison sentences of up to 20 years.

This operation follows previous crackdowns on suspected crypto pyramid schemes and money laundering operations carried out by Brazilian police. One notable case involved the raid of multiple addresses linked to Braiscompany, a high-profile suspected crypto pyramid. In another instance, officers claimed to have dismantled two separate crypto-powered money laundering operations in July of this year.

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