Brazilian Police Break Up Counterfeit Money Ring, Seize $10,000 in Fake Bills

Published: 08 June 2023

Brazil Police operationPolice raids the group’s counterfeit lab. (Photo: Polícia Federal, License)

By Vinicius Madureira

Brazilian authorities have dismantled a criminal group responsible for counterfeiting approximately half a ton of money, with a value exceeding US$700,000, according to Federal Police.

Police Chief Leonardo Ferreira highlighted the damaging effects of counterfeit money on the credibility of the national currency, not only among locals but also within the international community, including tourists. He also noted its contribution to inflation.

The Federal Police unit in the capital city provided essential information to their counterparts in Rio de Janeiro, leading to an investigation into the group. Business Intelligence reports and other relevant data were shared. A previous alert issued last year indicated that the group had distributed over a thousand suspicious items throughout Brazil, resulting in the transportation of around half a ton of counterfeit bills since 2020.

During Tuesday's operation, authorities seized approximately $10,000 in counterfeit bills. The raid on the lab uncovered an extensive range of equipment used in counterfeit money production, including papers, printers, inks, graphic equipment, finishing materials, credit card machines, and both finished and partially completed counterfeit banknotes.

As part of the operation, four individuals were arrested, and search and seizure warrants were executed in various cities across the Rio de Janeiro state. The investigation revealed that the suspects utilized social media platforms to promote and distribute their counterfeit currency, with cash being shipped through the national postal system upon customers' orders.

The arrested individuals will face charges of organized crime, counterfeiting currency, and other related offenses. If convicted, they could face sentences of more than 25 years in prison. The four suspects will be held in custody until their court appearances under the supervision of the judicial system.