Federal agents from the FBI and Homeland Security raided the Marlborough headquarters of TelexFree Inc. in the intensifying investigation of an alleged billion-dollar scheme that has the potential to rank among the largest international financial frauds.
The company, which sells Internet telephone services lured investors who sometimes put in their life savings. Some distraught victims have threatened suicide.
Acting on a search warrant, Federal agents combed the TelexFree office on Tuesday, the Department of Justice said. Authorities in other countries have reportedly been conducting fraud and money laundering investigations involving TelexFree.
The action this week by US authorities was triggered by TelexFree’s decision to file for federal bankruptcy protection in Nevada on Monday.
Securities regulators in Massachusetts filed a civil lawsuit against the company the next day, accusing TelexFree of a $90 million fraud in the Commonwealth and $1 billion around the world.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin said the company mainly targeted Brazilian immigrant communities in Massachusetts.
On March 9, because of its financial woes, TelexFREE management made several changes and participants are no longer able to withdraw money without making a specified number of retail sales and recruiting a number of new investors.