The defendant faces a sentence of 40 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement of public funds. If he is found guilty on this occasion, it could be added 3 or 10 years to his sentence.

It was known, through Brazilian media, that the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) of that country accused José Edivan Félix of the crime of money laundering.  Félix is a former mayor who is currently outside the Catingueira Municipality in Brazil for using cryptocurrencies such as Megacoin and Bitcoin for money laundering.

The defendant is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence for embezzlement of public funds and fraud, for about 7.7 million reals, equivalent to approximately 1.75 million dollars.

According to other local media, the authorities introduced a new judicial process that signals the former mayor to have used cryptocurrencies for money laundering on more than one occasion. If the defendant is found guilty, he could face additional fines for each crime and add to his sentence 3 or 10 years in prison.

The data provided by the prosecution that bears the accusation indicates that the citizen Edivan Felix changed the title deeds of some of his assets with the name of other people, hiding properties that were probably acquired with money from money laundering. Besides, it is speculated that the defendant used cryptocurrencies to make the purchase of vehicles through companies that operated as intermediaries.

In two cases that are indicated in the prosecution’s accusation, the citizen Edivan Felix gave as guarantee two cars that would be exchanged for cash. It was speculated that a part of the sale of these goods would be invested in the purchase of the cryptocurrencies mentioned. Prosecutor’s investigations argue that the amount of these operations exceeds 29,000 Brazilian reals, equivalent to USD 6,600.

Local media in Brazil, such as the news media website Paraiba Online, explained that it was all based on a quota sales model that included the use of cryptocurrencies to commit the crime.

“The business model consisted, in summary, of payments made by the participants, who, in addition to paying an initial fee, also paid monthly fees and made withdrawals of dividends in cryptocurrencies”, the local media details.

The accusation against the former mayor of the Catingueira municipality, in the Sertão paraibano, José Edivan Félix, is part of a prosecutor’s plan that seeks to conduct deep investigations related to local mayors for corruption.

Edivan Felix would have already been charged and sentenced last August 2019. During that month, the former mayor was sentenced to 40 years in prison. This is part of the special operation that has been called by the local authorities as “Recidivism” due to the particularity of these cases.

According to an investigation conducted by Messari, the use of Bitcoin to perform money laundering events is still much lower than the use of other global assets. Compared to the US currency, the dollar is used about 800 times more than the cryptocurrency for money laundering.

By María Rodríguez


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