This is a translated story originating from Mikaella Campos, an economics reporter for A Gazeta Newspaper, as posted by her on patrickpretty.com:
Telexfree: the big Brazilian fraud
Known as Orion, an investigation by the Federal Police against Telexfree in Espírito Santo (ES) – situated on southeastern of Brazil – was close the company’s headquarters in Vitoria, after concluding that, in addition to pyramid financial, the network acted fraudulently, committing crimes against the financial system and the public economy.
The action was based on determination of the Federal Court for the fulfillment nine search warrants and seizure organization’s offices and the home of its owners.
In injunction, the 1st Criminal Court of Federal Vitoria / ES has decided to suspend all activities Telexfree, registered in Brazil under the name of Ympactus Comercial. Also decreed the sequestration of assets, breach of banking secrecy and tax those involved in the business and the owners were prohibited from leaving the country. Yesterday, in the operation, luxury cars were seized.
The blocking of assets of the company and owners extends to their families. It is the third freezing of assets of those involved. In addition to the accounts being blocked by Justice of Acre, the 4th Court of Tax Enforcement, the ES, a month ago, had already seized the funds for payment of tax debts totaling more than US$ 80 million.
The decision to block the assets of Telexfree and the federal judge was involved Aylton Bonomo Junior. The injunction reaches beyond the Brazilian company partners, six people involved, as American James Mathew Merrill; Jozelia Mirian Sangali, wife of Carlos Costa; Katia Helia Barbosa Wanzeler, Feber Vanzeler de Almeida and Souza, Lyvia Mara Camper Wanzeler and Marilza Wanzeler Machado, Carlos Wanzeler family. These people, according to Justice, participate in Ympactus.
The judge also blocked the assets of the daughter of Carlos Costa, Leticia. “Although initially (Leticia Costa) is not on the quality of investigation, it has been demonstrated, on the topic” II.7.1 “(Das searches and seizures), is reason to suspect that your parent is using your bank account for moving illicit funds. therefore, the corresponding removal of confidentiality must be upheld”, the judge said.
Operation Orion is the result of a joint effort of the federal police, federal prosecutors and the IRS. Investigations are in the final phase and is therefore the union of two investigations which dealt with the ES group can still be accused of acting as a financial agent, commanding a grand scheme to money laundering, tax evasion and conspiracy to promote. If proven irregularities, the sentence may still exceed 10 years imprisonment.
The operation name was chosen because the Egyptian pyramids have been made ??toward three stars of Orion.
At first, the survey evaluates the conduct of two members, but will be considered if other people would also be important parts in the scheme. Criminal investigations began early last year and was in charge of the Civil Police of ES. In August 2013, the investigation was transferred to the PF.
There are more than six months at the request of federal prosecutors, the PF began a new procedure to check the collective sale of securities without the authorization of the Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM), which is equivalent to U.S. SEC.
According to the sheriff for Combating Organized Crime of PF in SSc, Rodrigo De Lucca, were analyzed thousands of documents that prove Telexfree exerted a public company activities.
“The Telexfree created a system for capturing features of securities and created a kind of financial pyramid. She managed to June last year raised more than R$ 1.2 billion only in Brazil”, said the delegate.
In megaoperation worked 50 federal police officers and 18 IRS agents to gather evidence. Besides the offices of Telexfree, searches occurred at the headquarters of Disk Will, a company that was owned by Wanzeler, and also had arms in the United States. Also hit accounting firms. USB sticks, laptops, smartphones and several boxes of documents were seized.
Fraud involving Telexfree has roots in Vitória / ES, but the extent of the damage exceeded the borders of Brazil reaching over one million people worldwide. In Massachusetts, USA, where the company also had headquarters, three charges, and administrative, civil and criminal, against the members of the company on American soil, Carlos Wanzeler (Espirito Santo) and James Merrill (American).
The Federal Court allowed the ES to evidence collected in the USA are used in Brazil to incriminate the owners.
According to the sheriff, Rodrigo De Lucca, with the loan of evidence, the intention is to find out how many people were registered on the network after the blockade in Brazil, occurred on June 18, 2013.
There will also be lending evidence to the Justice of Acre, which is processing a civil action, which paralyzed the activities of Telexfree. The action of Acre has no relation whatsoever with Operation Orion, but was crucial to the collection of materials to support criminal investigations.
To take evidence with the United States, Brazil want to determine the amounts handled by the company after the blockage in Brazil. Possibly, too much money left Brazil illegally.
Estimates of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Massachusetts – equivalent to the Securities Commission in Brazil – show revenues of almost US$ 1.2 billion from February 2012 until April 2014, when the Telexfree had its prohibited operating in the United States.
“There was the first exchange of information with the United States. We now only awaits the formal request for the evidence to come from there to Brazil. The conclusion of the investigation is very transparent and coincides with U.S. foundations”, said the delegate.
The company’s activities in the U.S. started after June 2013. But even with the ban on registering people in Brazil, representatives of the company inscribed enrolled, issuing contracts with a second Telexfree, based in Nevada.
Both here and in the U.S., the activities are characterized as hybrid Ponzi pyramid. “The company used the VoiP to attract advisers who paid fee to be part of the business. They had an obligation to make daily announcements on free pre-formulated with the promise of profit up to 200% per annum sites”, he adds.
Although federal prosecutors have requested the arrest of Carlos Wanzeler and Carlos Costa, owners of Telexfree, the restrictive measures taken by the Federal Court in the ES were alternatives. They will have to submit monthly Justice ES. However, Espirito Santo was accused Wanzeler in Federal Court in the United States being one of the masterminds of the scheme and can be arrested in Brazil.
A grand jury in the United States denounced Wednesday for nine counts of fraud. A federal detention order was issued in Massachusetts. If the U.S. court ask the Brazil, the arrest may be executed by the Brazilian PF.
Last May, Fantastico, Rede Globo TV’s show, showed that Telexfree continued to work in Brazil. According to lawyer Antonio Carlos de Almeida Castro, also known as “Kakay”, the operation performed yesterday was unnecessary because the company did not work. “MPF did what it thought was necessary, but I do not agree. We want to expedite the investigation and we can not accept this amount of claims against the company. Ideally, everything is in one place. The people who worked at the headquarters of Telexfree preparing documentation for the bankruptcy filing”, said Kakay. At the time of the reportage on Fantastico, Carlos Costa, director of the company, said the employees worked for Telexfree money back for advisers.
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