Published On: Tue, Jan 24th, 2017

Ever wondered what $20 million cash hidden underneath a mattress looks like?

TelexFree, an internet phone service, ripped off about half of their participants, or say about 1 million people, in a pyramid scheme of $3 billion global

US Attorney’s Office in Boston posted this amazing picture on Twitter, after approximately $20 million in cash hidden inside a box spring in a Westborough, Mass. apartment was seized late Monday. Federal agents found the cash hidden during a case of money laundering bust related to TelexFree Inc.’s pyramid scheme of $3 billion.

 

 

Brazilian Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha, 28, was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering. Rocha was detained following an appearance today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein.

According to the complaint, in April 2014, federal agents searched the headquarters of TelexFree, Inc., the internet phone service company ripped off about half of their participants, or roughly 1 million people across the world.

Later that day, Carlos Wanzeler, one of the founders of the company, allegedly fled to Brazil, his native country, where he has remained. Wanzeler and TelexFree co-founder James Merrill were indicted in July 2014 on charges that they operated TelexFree as a massive pyramid scheme. Merrill pleaded guilty to those charges in October 2016 and is awaiting sentencing.

According to court documents, Rocha, acting as a courier for Wanzeler’s nephew, who is now serving as a cooperating witness — flew from Brazil to JFK Airport in New York City a few days ago.

Yesterday, Rocha met the cooperating witness at a restaurant in Hudson, Mass., and allegedly gave him $2.2 million in cash hidden in a suitcase.

After the meeting, agents followed Rocha to an apartment complex and later arrested him. That night, federal agents searched the apartment a and seized a massive stockpile of cash hidden in a box spring. The cash appears to total approximately $20 million.

“The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater,” prosecutors said. “Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

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