A new report has revealed that several Brazilian soccer players have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam. The players, who have not been named, were allegedly convinced to invest in a cryptocurrency that promised huge returns but ultimately turned out to be a scam. This is just the latest example of how crypto scams continue to be a major problem for investors around the world. As the crypto market continues to gain mainstream acceptance, it is important for investors to be aware of the risks and to thoroughly research any investment opportunities before committing their capital.
Brazilian Soccer Players Lose $5 Million in Cryptocurrency Fraud
Gustavo Scarpa, Mayke Rocha de Oliveira, and Willian Bigode – prominent Brazillian soccer players – have fallen prey to an alleged fraudulent cryptocurrency firm called Xland, losing over $5 million. The company promised to reimburse the victims, but declined any claims of running a pyramid scheme.
Athletes Have Fallen Victims
Scarpa and Rocha de Oliveira, who play for Nottingham Forest and Palmeiras, respectively, joined Xland as investors at the insistence of their former teammate, Willian Bigode. The platform assured returns of up to 5% per month, but reportedly drained the players’ investments. Scarpa lost 6.3 million reais (approximately $1.2 million), while Rocha de Oliveira invested 4 million reais (about $757,000). Both footballers filed complaints with the police some time ago. Scarpa commented, “I’ve always seen stupid people fall victim to pyramid schemes and scams. Finding myself in a situation like that is horrible.” Bigode, who also invested in Xland, denied pressuring them into joining and stressed that he lost 17.5 million reais (over $3.3 million).
Xland’s promise to restore the funds hasn’t deterred the lead investigators. According to them, there is “strong evidence” suggesting Xland operated as a pyramid scheme. In contrast, the firm contested the allegations, claiming that the investor losses ensued from the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX in November 2022.
Some of Brazil’s Biggest Crypto Scams
Brazil’s regretful history with cryptocurrency scams dates back a few years. Claudio Oliveira, popularly known as “The Bitcoin King,” was arrested in 2021 on suspicions of illegally withdrawing 7,000 BTC from his Bitcoin Banco Group clients. Authorities confiscated hardware wallets belonging to Oliveira, along with luxury cars and a vast sum of cash. Similarly, Francisco Valdevino da Silva, aka the “Bitcoin Sheikh,” led a criminal organization that scammed investors through high-yield investment programs. An investigation into the gang’s activities, termed “Operation Poyais,” revealed that the gang members stole a significant amount of crypto funds and laundered over $766 million worth of digital currencies.
The number of cryptocurrency-related scams and frauds is on the rise worldwide, with Brazil being no exception. Investors should exercise due diligence before investing their hard-earned money in any unknown cryptocurrency startup or venture. Scammers often play the greed card and promise unusually high returns, so don’t fall into their trap. Stay informed and skeptical to protect yourself and your investments.