Luxury vehicles, watches and cash were also seized.
The company promised a 15% return on investment.
The Federal Police of Brazil seized 591 bitcoins, valued at USD 27 million, as a result of an investigation into GAS Consultoria Bitcoin, a company that allegedly operated under a Ponzi scheme.
During Operation Kryptos, as the plan was called, seized 13.8 millions of Brazilian reais (USD 2.6 million). Likewise, they got 100 pounds sterling, dollars and euros.
They were also seized 21 luxury vehicles, several high-value watches and jewelry, according to the Brazilian police, on August 25.
According to the police agency this could be the increased seizure of bitcoin and other assets they have done so far.
The company was based in the Lagos Region, Rio de Janeiro. From there they established a network in which they made public offers with an investment contract, offering returns of 10% of the amount invested by customers.
In addition, GAS did not have prior registration with the cryptocurrency regulatory bodies in Brazil.
The operation was carried out in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Ceará and the Federal District, where they were five people arrested. Among those arrested is Glaidson Acácio, owner of a bitcoin consultancy.
Both Acácio and the rest of those involved face charges for the alleged crimes of fraudulent and reckless management clandestine financial institution, illegal issuance of securities without prior registration, criminal organization and money laundering. If convicted, they could spend 26 years behind bars.
The police also explained that, Acácio with his company mobilized during the last six years, the financial transactions of the company totaled approximately USD 30 million. Half of the transactions occurred during the last 12 months.
They ask investors to calm down
Following Acácio’s arrest, investors received audios on WhatsApp groups, created in order to calm GAS users, according to local press.
In the audios, a representative of Glaidson Acácio assured that they would continue working. “The work of GAS does not depend on Glaidson, as he himself said in the last meeting, we will move on.”
Glaidson’s call, through a spokesperson, is that he considers it natural that what happened generates commotion among all involved, but asked for patience because they have the “certainty and conviction” that they will overcome this trance.
«Give our customers confidence. Be patient, especially with new customers, ”Glaidson told a GAS spokesperson.
It is noteworthy that the company does not have a website or social networks and the phone available in the Brazilian Tax Service is out of service.
From waiter to millionaire
Here, until 2014 he worked in a restaurant as a waiter and 7 years later he amassed a fortune of more than USD 30 million, reported a Brazilian media.
Married to Venezuelan Mirelis Díaz Zerpa, Acácio led a luxurious life with mansions, but with almost no public exposure on social media.
His lawyer considers that the arrest of the businessman was a surprise. He acknowledged that having 20 million reais may be an exaggeration, but they cannot say that it comes from an illegal activity.
Protests in favor of the employer
Many GAS investors and consultants took to the streets to demand Acácio’s freedom. Specifically, they crowded the doors of the Red Globo television channel for exposing the alleged Ponzi scheme.
Investors assure that neither Acácio nor the company have committed any crime, because it has paid them the funds on time and even in advance in all the years it has been operating.
«We want Acácio to be released, we are here in front of the filth of Red Globo, in protest against Globo, Globo distorts every information. GAS in 9 years has always paid well, we are a family, “said one of the protesters.