Brazilian police have arrested South African Johann Steinberg, the organizer of Mirror Trading International, the largest cryptocurrency pyramid of 2020.
Crypto fraud in Brazil
Johann Steinberg, the creator of Mirror Trading International, has been wanted by Interpol and the FBI since December 2020. The Brazilian military police GIRO received information on the location of the criminal, after which Johann Steinberg was arrested in Goiânia, the capital from the Brazilian state of Goiás.
According to Raimundo Coelho Pinto Junior, commander of the rapid intervention team, the reconnaissance work lasted about a month. Police managed to track down Johann Steinberg by seizing several fake IDs, electronic equipment, credit cards, laptops and more.
“The police have begun a thorough search for the suspect. Federal police and Interpol were aware of our investigation. Therefore, we made the decision to arrest the criminal immediately as soon as we found his location”, remarked Raimundo Coelho Pinto Junior.
A statement issued by the Military Police of Goiás indicates that the criminal was presented to the superintendent to execute an international arrest warrant and a fine for a crime involving the use of false documents.
Bitcoin MTI Pyramid Stocks
Mirror Trading International (MTI) was founded in South Africa in 2019 and has positioned itself as an investment platform. By using a Ponzi scheme and promising a monthly return of up to 10%, the founder of the pyramid managed to deceive thousands of investors. Customers in the United States, Canada, Namibia and other countries have been affected. It is estimated that more than 29,000 BTC (about $300 million) passed through Steinberg’s company.
At its peak, the firm had 170,000 clients worldwide and managed over $1 billion in assets. When customers began reporting that MTI had frozen their balance sheets, authorities opened an investigation.
The pyramid’s transaction database was hacked by the Anonymous ZA group, which drew attention to MTI’s suspicious activities. Subsequently, in October 2020, the FSCA raided MTI’s offices and shareholders’ homes. The CEO disappeared in December 2020 when it was revealed that a number of MTI investors could not withdraw their money.
Recall that in July 2021, the Brazilian Federal Police liquidated Bitcoin Banco Group, whose damage to 7,000 citizens exceeded $300 million. Its leader Claudio Oliveira, known as the “king of bitcoins”, has been arrested.
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