Luxury vehicles, watches and cash were also seized.
The company promised a 15% return on investment.
Brazil’s Federal Police seized 591 bitcoins, valued at USD 27 million, resulting from an investigation into GAS Consultoria Bitcoin, a company that allegedly operated under a Ponzi scheme.
During Operation Kryptos, as the scheme was called, they also seized 13.8 million Brazilian reals (USD 2.6 million). They also seized 100 pounds sterling, dollars and euros.
They also seized 21 luxury vehicles, several high-value watches and jewelry, according to
Brazilian police on Aug. 25.
According to the police agency this could be the largest seizure of bitcoin and other assets they have made so far.
The company was based in the Lagos Region, Rio de Janeiro. From there they established a network in which they made public offerings with an investment contract, offering returns of 10% of the amount invested by customers.
In addition, GAS did not have prior registration with cryptocurrency
regulators in Brazil.
The operation was carried out in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Ceará and the Federal District, where five people were arrested. Among those arrested
is Glaidson Acácio, owner of a bitcoin consultancy.
Acácio and the rest of those involved face charges for the alleged crimes of fraudulent and reckless management of a clandestine financial institution, illegal issuance of securities without prior registration, criminal organization and money laundering. If convicted, they could spend 26 years behind bars.
The police also explained that, Acácio with his company mobilized during the last six years, the company’s financial transactions totaled approximately USD 30 million. Half of the transactions occurred during the last 12 months.
Police authorities also seized 13.8 million Brazilian reais in cash. Source: Brazilian Federal Police.
Investors asked for calm
After Acácio’s arrest, investors received audios in WhatsApp groups, created with the purpose of calming GAS users, according to local press
In the audios,
a representative of Glaidson Acácio assured that they would continue working. “The work of GAS does not depend on Glaidson, as he himself said in the last meeting, we will go ahead”.
Glaidson’s call, through a spokesman, is that he considers natural that what happened generates commotion among all those involved, but asked for patience because they have the “certainty and conviction” that they will overcome this trance.
“Convey confidence to our customers. Have patience, especially with new customers,” Glaidson told a GAS spokesman.
Notably, the company has no website, no social media and the phone number available from the Brazilian Tax Service is out of service.
From waiter to millionaire
Acácio, until 2014 worked in a restaurant as a waiter and 7 years later came to amass a fortune of more than USD 30 million, reported
a Brazilian media.
Married to Venezuelan Mirelis Diaz Zerpa, Acácio led a life of luxury with mansions, but with almost no public exposure on social media.
His lawyer believes the businessman’s arrest came as a surprise. He acknowledged that having 20 million reais may be an exaggeration, but they can’t say it came from illegal activity.
Protests in favor of the businessman
Many GAS investors and consultants took to the streets
to demand Acácio’s release. Specifically, they crowded at the gates of Red Globo TV channel for exposing the alleged Ponzi scheme. Investors protested for Glaidson Acácio’s freedom and against Red Globo TV channel for defaming the businessman. Source: Youtube.
The investors claim that neither Acácio nor the company have committed any crime, because he has paid them the funds on time and even in advance in all the years he has been operating.
“We want Acácio to be released, we are here in front of the filth of Red Globo, in protest against Globo, Globo distorts every information. GAS in 9 years has always paid well, we are a family,” said one of the protesters.