U.S. officials seize $24M in crypto on behalf of Brazil investigation into fraudulent crypto scheme

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized $24 million in crypto after a request from the Brazilian government.

The funds are allegedly tied to a crypto investment scheme that defrauded more than $200 million from tens of thousands of Brazilians.

Brazil issued the seizure of crypto funds held in the U.S. by Marcos Antonio Fagundes, who is facing multiple charges in Brazil, including illegally operating a financial institution, securities violations and money laundering.

Fagundes allegedly operated a scheme that offered investments in cryptocurrencies over the Internet and in person. The defendants allegedly solicited these investments in Brazilian reals or crypto and promised to invest the cash into cryptocurrencies for a return.

The Brazilian government contends very little was invested and those targeted saw very little return. The government contends Fagundes and his partners made false and inconsistent promises about the offered investment plans and expected returns.

The U.S. seized Fagundes' U.S.-based holdings as part of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, according to a Wednesday press statement.