#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Here's what $20 million hidden under a bed looks like

A man has been charged in connection with an alleged pyramid scheme.

IF YOU’VE EVER been tempted to hide money under your bed and wondered just how much you can fit, the answer is a lot.

The US Attorney for the district of Massachusetts last night tweeted this picture which shows $20 million hidden under the box spring of a bed in Boston.

A Brazilian man was arrested after the seizure on 5 January in connection with conspiring to launder proceeds of the massive TelexFree pyramid scheme. The TelexFree case could be worth $3 billion globally.

The man, Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha, was charged with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering in a US District Court hearing. According to the complaint, federal agents had raided the headquarters of TelexFree in Marlborough earlier in the day. That saw Carlos Wanzeler, one of the founders of the company, allegedly flee to Brazil, where he has remained.

Wanzeler and TelexFree co-founder James Merrill were indicted in July 2014 on charges that they operated TelexFree as a massive pyramid scheme. Merrill pleaded guilty to those charges in October 2016 and is awaiting sentencing. According to court documents, Rocha, acting as a courier for Wanzeler’s nephew, flew from Brazil to JFK Airport in New York City. After heading to Hudson, Massachusetts, he met an associate of Wanzeler and allegedly gave him $2.2 million in a briefcase.

After the meeting, agents followed Rocha to an apartment complex in Westborough, Mass., and later arrested him. That night, federal agents searched an apartment at the Westborough complex and seized a massive stockpile of cash hidden in a box spring. The cash appears to total approximately $20 million.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in US prison.

Read: UK Supreme Court rules Brexit must be approved by Parliament

Read next: