The Federal Police launched Operation Metaverso on Wednesday morning (22) to combat crimes related to the practice of electronic bank fraud, and seized cryptocurrencies.

The operation, which is named after one of the terms that became prominent at the end of last year in the crypto market, represented an important step in the repression of electronic bank fraud, according to Agência Brasil, mainly due to the amount diverted and the way it was practiced.

The alleged fraud took place over the internet, where a criminal organization of 30 people identified a vulnerability on a website (not identified in the report) and embezzled around BRL 18.5 million.

According to the investigations, this millionaire amount was immediately distributed to dozens of bank accounts with the intention of making it difficult to trace the result of the fraud. After that, those involved used several shell companies created exclusively to divert the money and buy cryptocurrencies.

The organization then used cryptocurrency exchanges, including international ones, to buy digital currencies in hopes of hiding the illicit financial advantages.

In the investigation by the Federal Police, it assisted the Brazilian Federation of Banks (FEBRABAN) and banking institutions adhering to the Technical Cooperation Agreement. The operation was an effort by the Tentacles task force to combat electronic banking fraud.

The investigation began in May 2020 in Rondônia, after receiving a report produced by the central unit based on information submitted by the victim banking institutions.

The criminal group used a bank account of a company headquartered in Porto Velho – RO in what the Federal Police called “a sophisticated fraud”. The amount seized in cryptocurrencies was not disclosed.

The 4th Criminal Court of Porto Velho/RO, acting on behalf of the Federal Police, granted the search and seizure request at 11 addresses linked to those investigated in the states of Rondônia, Paraná, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.

Those investigated will respond, to the extent of their culpability, for the commission of the crimes of qualified theft through fraud, criminal organization and money laundering, whose sum penalties can exceed 20 years of imprisonment.

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