Accused would have struck scams with false investments in the real estate business

The Superior Court of Justice (STJ) denied Habeas Corpus to a suspect in stealth and money laundering who used cryptomorphs to conceal illegal assets and had a relationship with the criminal faction in Gramado known as “Os Manos”.

According to the decision by Minister Rogerio Schietti Cruz, Cassio Portella was arrested on remand after the Rio Grande do Sul Court of Justice (TJRS) analysed the evidence from the police investigation that showed that Portella had captured people to invest money in real estate with a promise of high financial returns.

The promises, however, were not kept. Documents show several victims who had losses of more than R$100,000 – one of them even lost R$348,000.

The scheme worked in a simple way. According to the investigation, the victims heard by the police said that Cassio Portella and Carlos Ferreira “were attracting investors interested in having large amounts of money to make profits of at least 15% in a short period of time”.

The coup was not dealt immediately. The duo gained the confidence of their customers and for this they initially paid the profits. This made them feel at ease and made greater use of what they had done the first time and from then on the pair stopped paying those investors.

Cryptomoeda in crime

The police mentioned that the investigators even hired an actor to pose as a representative of HS Consórcios in order to improve customer acquisition.

According to the file, the duo relied on third parties to serve as “oranges” and help in money laundering. These people, according to the investigation, had a high patrimonial increase. They would have acquired vehicles and properties registered in favour of third parties.

These assets were used by the duo, who even used cryptomites in their investments to facilitate the concealment of assets that would have been linked to illicit activities.

“Within the criminal organization led by Cassio and Carlos, widespread use of digital assets (cryptomoreds) in the form of investments has been demonstrated, a conduct that is known to make it easier to conceal the illicit assets raised in the activity under investigation, making it difficult to later identify the destination and recover the assets,” the sentence says.

According to the decision, Portella would present a risk to society if it were released. The investigation pointed out that he would have “close links with agents of one of the main criminal factions in the region called Os Manos, whose harmful potential is recognized by the various acts of violence promoted, almost always associated with drug trafficking.

Furthermore, in a previous decision that ordered the arrest of those involved, it was stated that the suspect “carries a police record for the illegal possession of a firearm of restricted use (occurrence no. 216/2013/150402), a fact that in the context investigated – where the investigated leads a criminal organization focused on the crime of larceny and, therefore, accustomed to being sought by the victims in order to be charged with the promised profits, in addition to the link with the criminal faction and proven extortion by threat”.

STJ upholds TJ-RS decision

The defence stated in the file that Portella had nothing to do with any criminal organisation involved in drug trafficking and that the accusation was only against Carlos Ferreira.

According to the defence, Portella’s wife would be pregnant and the release of the accused would be essential, and it argued that “the motivation given to order the detention of the patient for the alleged crimes of larceny, money laundering and criminal organisation would not be appropriate.

On the illegal carrying of weapons, the defence had stated that his client had been acquitted. According to the same defence, the investors heard by the police want to receive more than they applied in the business.

This, however, did not stand up in the face of the evidence raised by the investigation and brought to justice.

The STJ minister then upheld the TJ-RS decision. He said that although the accused had been acquitted of carrying an illegal firearm and that the intimidating message sent to one of the victims of the crimes dealt with in that case “preceded the request made by the police authority, I note the indication of subsequent circumstances and sufficient in themselves to justify the imposition of extreme caution.