Brazilian police have swooped on what they believe is a sex-themed crypto extortion ring that saw victims blackmailed into handing over tokens.
The Brazilian media outlet Livecoins reported that the probe was codenamed Operation Sextorsion, and was carried out by the Civil Police in Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais.
Three unnamed suspects, thought to be members “of a criminal organization” were arrested after warrants were issued by the Civil Police of the Federal District.
Brazilian Crypto Fraud: Is ‘Sex-tortion’ a New Criminal Tactic?
Officers claimed that the ring created “fake profiles” for non-existent women on dating apps. The ring then operated these accounts, approaching “mainly men” on these platforms. After chatting for some time, the ring’s members then allegedly requested that the victims send “intimate” photos and videos.
Upon receipt of these materials, the ring’s members then allegedly threatened to expose these photos and videos to the public unless they received payment.
Victims were allegedly either asked to pay in crypto or by using the Central Bank’s PIX instant payment platform.
Police appear to have been made aware of the alleged scheme when a 68-year-old individual came forward. The 68-year-old stated that they had fallen victim to the ring.
Officers stated that they had conducted two “search and seizure” raids in Patos de Minas. Officers said they had arrested two males (aged 24 and 31 year) and one female, who is aged 27.
The trio is being investigated on suspicion of violating laws on organized crime, identity fraud, extortion, and money laundering.
They could face up to 29 years in prison if convicted.
Last month, police and prosecution officials in Brazil were granted sweeping new crypto confiscation powers as the nation intensifies its fight against crypto-related fraud.
The government has also created a crypto “working group.” The group comprises lawyers and prosecutors who have been told to draft proposals for legal reform.