Brazilian Police Launch Operation to Freeze Crypto Assets of Suspected Fraudsters
In a major operation, Brazilian police have sought court approval to freeze the cryptocurrency holdings of suspected electronics-trading fraudsters. Known as Operation Spin-Off, the operation involves the Federal Police and the Receita Federal (Special Department of Federal Revenue). The police conducted raids in the states of São Paulo, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul. A total of 180 federal police officers and 74 tax auditors participated in the operation, which was carried out following the issuance of 50 “search and seize” warrants by the courts.
The investigators also obtained freezing orders for crypto wallets through a branch of the Federal Criminal Court. This suggests that the wallets in question are likely hosted on domestic cryptocurrency exchange platforms. However, the police have not provided information about the specific platforms involved or the value and type of coins they intend to freeze.
The objective of the operation, according to the police, is to dismantle a criminal organization that allegedly orchestrated a complex financial scheme. The organization is believed to have purchased electronics from international buyers and sold them to domestic buyers. The police suspect that the group moved substantial amounts of cash and/or crypto received from electronics buyers into accounts belonging to “paper” companies. These companies were supposedly fronts, registered under the names of intermediaries, to obscure the origin and purpose of the money and/or crypto sent to overseas vendors.
Investigators estimate that the ring has sold approximately $24.3 million worth of goods without declaring their operations to customs officials, tax authorities, or the police. Search warrants were also issued for addresses associated with traders and suppliers who might have been involved in the scheme. The suspects could face charges of embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering, which carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
This operation follows recent police raids on multiple addresses linked to Braiscompany, a high-profile suspected crypto pyramid scheme. In July, officers also claimed to have dismantled two separate crypto-powered money laundering operations.