Three professional Brazilian soccer stars, Gustavo Scarpa, Mayke Rocha de Oliveira, and Willian Bigode, have reportedly lost a combined total of over $5 million due to investing in an alleged crypto fraud firm called Xland. Willian Bigode, a former teammate of the victims, denied persuading them to invest in Xland and stated he too is a victim, losing over $3.3 million. Xland has denied running a pyramid scheme and promised to reimburse the victims, claiming the investor losses resulted from the demise of the crypto exchange FTX in November 2022.
Brazil has become a hotbed for cryptocurrency schemes over the past few years, with the authorities detaining Claudio Oliveira, a.k.a. “The Bitcoin King,” in 2021 on suspicion of swiping 7,000 BTC from clients of his Bitcoin Banco Group. Last year, the police also halted the operations of a criminal organization led by the businessman Francisco Valdevino da Silva, better known as the “Bitcoin Sheikh,” who had allegedly stolen a considerable amount of funds from victims and laundered $766 million worth of digital currencies.
Cryptocurrency scams are unfortunately all too common, and it is important to be aware of the risks and to do research before investing. Gustavo Scarpa and Mayke Rocha de Oliveira have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths after learning the hard way, with Scarpa commenting: “I’ve always seen stupid people fall victim to pyramid schemes and scams. Finding myself in a situation like that is horrible.”