Brazilian caught with money inside mattress

US attorneys found around $20 million dollars inside brazilian Cléber Rene Rizério's mattress, in a small town near Boston, in the state of Massachusetts. The money was aprehended last Thursday. Rizério Rocha was detained when attorneys accused him of money laundering while he was attending the Boston court. The scheme was associated with the company TelexFree, which went bankrupt in 2014 after causing the loss of 1.8 billion dollars to around one million people, many of them, brazilian immigrants in the US, according to the case's trial.

TelexFree is accused of operating in a financial pyramid scheme that attracted thousands of participants in the US and around the world. Initially created as a company that sold telephone services over the internet, the company, according to the trial, also offered to open accounts to "commercial promoters." These accounts gave them rights to the publication of online ads. The participants received money not only for the ads but for getting new members to join in. They promised 200% to 250% profit on top of the original investment the participants had to make.

Foundation of TelexFree

Telexfree was founded by brazilian Carlos Wanzeler and North American James Merril. Merril plead guilty in a hearing that took place in October 2016 and may be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Wanzeler, according to a document disclosed this week by the Boston court, has fled to Brazil and cannot be extradited.

According to official documents, Rizério Rocha acted as a money deliverer in the scheme, transferring TelexFree resources to accounts in Brazil via accounts made in Hong Kong. Recently he flew from Brazil to New York, and, on Wednesday, he delivered a briefcase containing $2.2 million at a restaurant to a witness that is cooperating with the investigation, and therefore, cannot have their name revealed.

After the delivery, the attorneys followed the Brazilian to an apartment in the city of Westborough, about 50km from Boston, where he was arrested. At night, they went back to his apartment and found the money hidden inside the mattress. The Brazilian may face up to 20 years in prison and 3 years of probation, in addition to having to pay a fine of up to $250,000.