Any notion that James Merril might get off lightly for cooperating with authorities has been dashed, following the filing of a ten-year recommended prison sentence.

And that’s with full consideration of his cooperation.

As per a sentencing memorandum filed last Thursday;

Merrill paid himself $4.5 million, even, as prosecutors alleged, when he knew the risks and the flaws of the TelexFree system. But prosecutors spared him a stiffer sentence in the plea deal, they said, because Wanzeler played a “greater role” in the scheme.

The contents of Merrill’s plea deal are sealed and to date we don’t know any specifics. I think it goes without saying though that Merrill has given authorities anything and everything he has on his partner, Carlos Wanzeler.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Merrill and co-defendant Carlos Wanzeler destroyed the lives of thousands of people the world over” prosecutors said.

Wanzeler meanwhile remains a fugitive in hiding in his native Brazil. The US doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Brazil, so how and when Wanzeler will return to the US to face justice has yet to play out.

In 2014 Wanzeler’s lawyer told the media he would “definitely stay in Brazil”. Whether recent efforts by US authorities to strip Wanzeler of his illegally obtained wealth might change that is unclear.

Merrill plead guilty to wire fraud last October and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22nd.

In related news, a Brazilian court has ordered Ympactus (TelexFree’s local name in Brazil) to reimburse two of its victims for R$64,700 ($20,926 USD).

TelexFree argued their assets were frozen so they couldn’t pay the victims even if they lost. The Judge rejected that argument and awarded the victims compensation and legal costs.


Update 23rd March 2017 – Merrill has been sentenced to six years in prison.