What Nearly $20 Million Stashed Under A Mattress Looks Like

Prosecutors say the stash is part of a pyramid scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office released a photo on Monday showing approximately $20 million in cold hard cash stashed under a mattress that’s allegedly linked to a massive international pyramid scheme.

Authorities discovered the cash as part of an investigation of TelexFree Inc., an internet telecommunications company that prosecutors say swindled nearly 1 million people, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The photo shows the money organized in neat stacks in a box spring in a Westborough, Massachusetts, apartment.

Prosecutors say that TelexFree Inc. made most of its money by luring in its backers’ friends and family and using their money to repay earlier investors. The company’s co-founder, Carlos Wanzeler, has been a fugitive in his native Brazil since 2014, the Boston Globe reported.

According to a criminal complaint, TelexFree’s millions remained hidden in the Boston area, and Wanzeler needed help transferring the funds to Brazil by laundering the cash through Hong Kong.

With the help of a cooperating witness, federal agents reportedly trailed a courier for the Wanzeler family, Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha, shortly after he arrived in the U.S. from Brazil earlier this month. He led them to the apartment building where the cash was hidden, according to court documents.

Rocha is charged with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering.

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