telexfree-logoLast we checked in Sanderley Rodrigues was scheduled in for an initial appearance hearing on the first of June.

Rodrigues was arrested early last month for visa fraud, with a hearing on the 21st of May seeing him released on a $200,000 bail.

After nearly a fortnight out on bail, the hearing on the first of June saw the issue of Rodrigues not being able to meet his bail conditions.

sann-rodrigues-top-telexfree-investorSpecifics aren’t available, but Rodrigues (right) was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service (USMS), pending a hearing on June the 8th.

As per the USMS website:

The U.S. Marshals Service houses and transports all federal prisoners from the time they enter federal custody until they are either acquitted or convicted and delivered to their designated federal Bureau of Prisons facility.

The Marshals Service assumes custody for all prisoners charged with a federal offense, no matter which agency made the arrest.

The 8th of June hearing saw Rodrigues ordered to remain in the custody of the USMS, ‘until an SEC accounting or alternate funds are made available for bail‘.

Rodrigues is currently the subject of an SEC civil lawsuit, through which a granted injunction froze Rodrigues’ known assets.

The lawsuit stems from Rodrigues involvement as a top investor in TelexFree, a $1.8 billion dollar Ponzi scheme.

Due to the fraudulent nature of TelexFree, Rodrigues isn’t able to use the millions he made in the scheme to secure his visa fraud bail.

What’s even more interesting to note is Rodrigues involvement is being showcased front & center by the DOJ prosecutor handling the visa fraud case.

A discover report from the DOJ reveals the agency plans to submit

  • a file on Sanderley Rodrigues De Vasconcelos (redacted source)
  • Rodrigues’ visa application (redacted source) and
  • background research on Sanderley Rodrigues De Vasconcelos (redacted source)

Various exhibits presented by the DOJ at the May 21st hearing will also be used, including

  • the SEC judgement against Rodrigues for operating the FoneClub pyramid scheme (2006)
  • a Forbes magazine article covering the Universo FoneClub case, titled “An Affinity For Fraud” (2007)
  • a photograph of James Merrill, Carlos Wanzeler and Rodrigues (Merril and Wanzeler are the founders and owners of TelexFree, separately facing criminal charges in the US)
  • a promotional poster for a Spain event (presumed to be for TelexFree)
  • a copy of the SEC complaint against TelexFree
  • a copy of the preliminary injunction granted against Rodrigues in the TelexFree case
  • Brazilian court documents translated with originals in Portuguese (presumed to be related to TelexFree)
  • a photo of Rodrigues showing off the house and cars he bought with stolen TelexFree investor funds

Many such photos exist online, with Rodrigues relying heavily on his fraudulently obtained assets to promote TelexFree.


Shortly after TelexFree was shut down by the SEC and despite stealing over $3 million dollars from investors, Rodrigues declared himself a victim.

The injunction granted against Rodrigues in the TelexFree case saw him ‘ordered to cease conducting any further fraud involving securities or otherwise‘. The Universo FoneClub settlement from 2006 saw similar restrictions applied.

My guess is the DOJ are going to use Rodrigues use of a fraudulently obtained visa in May to nail Rodrigues not only for visa fraud, but also for violating the terms of both the Universo FoneClub settlement and TelexFree injunction.

What that will ultimately mean in the SEC case and as far as sentencing goes in the visa fraud criminal case remains to be seen, but I’m thinking Rodrigues is pretty much done for.

Looking forward a hearing in the visa fraud case was scheduled to take place on June 22nd, but at the last minute was rescheduled for the 26th.

Stay tuned…