The Judiciary Police of Setúbal detained a man suspected of having cheated 13,000 people in 15 million euros, through an internet platform in which he marketed applications for mobile phones and other computer products.

According to a statement from the PJ, the defendant, 46, “pretended to dedicate himself to internet marketing of mobile phones and other computer applications” in a pyramid scheme, in which persons could earn income through entry of new customers.

“The originator using an international network, formed a commercial company that, in seven months, between 2013 and 2014, pretending to dedicate itself to selling mobile phones and other computer products, promising to raise income for new clients.

According to the PJ, the operator still promised gains for clients but instead appropriated 15 million euros.

The PJ communiqué also states that “inquiries by the authorities of the United States of America on the activity of the international platform used by the detainee led in 2014 to the closure of the Internet site used by that entity.”

The detainee, who is accused of  felonies of qualified fraud, qualified tax fraud and money laundering, has already been present at the first judicial interrogation, and has been subjected to coercion of daily presentations, prohibition of contacts with others involved and surrendering of passport if intending to leave the country.

Protecting yourself against pyramid selling fraud

If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. High returns can only be achieved with high risk. Pyramid schemes often involve products that are overpriced and have no real resale value. You should think about the true value of your investment before convincing friends and family to join the scheme.

What to do if you are a victim

  •  Inform the police immediately
  • If you’ve given the fraudsters your bank account details, alert your bank immediately.
  • Keep any written communications you’ve received from the pyramid scheme. They may help you give evidence to the authorities.
  • Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they’ve successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds