Brazilian Police Bust ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Crime Ring in Lisbon
LISBON (Reuters) – Brazilian police and the Portuguese branch of Interpol have dismantled a criminal network operating a sham company in Lisbon that defrauded thousands of Brazilians in a scheme inspired by the film “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
In a statement, Brazilian police said a Czech national based in Lisbon had opened a call center and hired hundreds of struggling Brazilian workers living in the Portuguese capital.
They were tasked with calling people in Brazil and convincing them to invest in stocks. The victims’ money ended up in company accounts while they were told it had been lost in the market.
“Due to despair … they were encouraged to make new investments in the hope of reversing the losses,” police chief Eric Sallum said. “It turns out the new investments also generated losses, creating a snowball.”
The investigation found the group had been operating for at least four years, affecting thousands of people, many of whom lost their life savings, and making millions in Brazilian reais.
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Six leaders of the network were arrested to face fraud and money-laundering charges, bank accounts were frozen and several fake websites were taken down.
There was a “sociopathic atmosphere” at the call center, which police said mimicked the 2013 blockbuster “The Wolf of Wall Street”, based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, who ended up in prison in the 1990s for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars. dollars.
Workers were encouraged to watch the movie and replicate the behavior of the main character played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
“The motto at the company was: think of yourselves and your families, forget the victims,” said Sallum.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony, Additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Potter)
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