Brazil’s Federal Police seized 591 bitcoins (currently worth about $27.7 million) related to a company accused of operating a system of pyramid schemes.
Police said that the company, based in the Lakes Region of Rio de Janeiro, carried out activities allegedly linked to speculation in the cryptocurrency market.
Federal Police issued 15 search and seizure warrants and made at least five arrests as part of their so-called “Operation Kryptos” plan, according to a press release. CNN Brasil reported that one of the people arrested was Glaidson Acácio, the owner of a bitcoin consultancy in Cabo Frio, Brazil.
In addition to the bitcoins, police seized 13.8 million Brazilian reais (about $2.6 million) in addition to other foreign currency. In addition, police seized other items including 21 luxury vehicles, high-value watches, jewelry, cell phones and documents.
According to the police announcement, the companies involved have logged billions of reais worth of transactions in the last six years–about half of which have taken place in the last year.
Those involved could face up to 26 years in prison if convicted of charges including illegally issuing securities without registration, criminal organization and money laundering among others.