By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Operation Chakal took place on Thursday with the aim of clamping down on a criminal organization suspected of defrauding nearly three hundred companies in Brazil. The group were involved in fraud on a grand scale and the attention to detail could be compared to that of a large specialized company. ‘Chakal’ had been the pseudonym used by the gang when dealing with federal agencies.

Identification and work card documents seized in the operation, Brazil News
Identification and work card documents seized in the operation, photo by Digulgação.

The Ministry for Labor and Employment estimates that the group accumulated in excess of R$30 million through the unemployment insurance program. Although, the exact amount will only be determined after the analysis of seized material.

R$7 million in unemployment payments have already been cut off due to the exchange of technical information between the Ministry for Labor and Employment and the federal police, and in a bid to clamp down on fraudulent claims.

The information led to two arrest warrants in Uberlândia (MG) as well as fifteen search warrants and seizures in the cities from Ribeirão Preto and Jaboticabal, in São Paulo, to Catalão and Gurupi, in Tocantis.

They found company documents, fake personal documents, computers, stamps and four vehicles as a result of the operation.

The investigation into unemployment insurance fraud began in October of last year, after the labor department suspected that companies would be illegally hiring and firing employees in order to apply for unemployment insurance. The investigation will cover conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering. The penalties for such crimes can be anywhere from five to twenty years.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


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