Friday, May 27 2022

Families in the San Diego area say they lost thousands of dollars after investing in an emerald mining operation in Brazil. Now investors are warned on the legitimacy of this company.

As Pietra Verdi began to close, investors say they were told not to worry.

“They told us everything looks good, we should trust the business, trust the business, there are profits for years,” said Jasser Perez Lopez, who has invested dozens. thousands of dollars.

Lopez emigrated from Cuba seven years ago. Since then, he had saved money working in security, carpooling and as a delivery driver. He says that last year he invested all his savings in what he thought would be a way to get out of the daily grind.

Here’s how the diet worked. Pietra Verdi was based in Brazil but hired a group in Costa Rica to advertise the company. Publicity and word of mouth from this group has finally reached families here in San Diego.

“I saw results in the first few days, within the first few months,” Lopez said. “It paid well and I thought I was going to bet. Since I had my savings and felt everything was legit, I also started borrowing money and using credit cards.”

Lopez would buy bitcoin and then send it to Pietra Verdi. Screenshots from the website show he transferred over $70,000, making a profit of $40,000. He says those results were so promising that he maxed out his credit cards.

“I kept borrowing money, investing and reinvesting,” Lopez said. “Whatever I do, I would reinvest.”

Not only did Lopez put all his money into the business, but he also invited other people to join as well.

“I saw it working, I saw it making money,” said Jose Hernandez, a good friend. “I jumped at the chance.”

Hernandez said he invested $5,000, but in November it all fell apart.

“The group that got us into the business is gone,” Lopez said. “Everything fell apart, everything, everything.”

Pietra Verdi had sent videos to his investors showing rough emeralds, jewelry, and a device they said could detect rough emeralds. NBC 7 therefore contacted a gemstone expert who visited the Brazilian emerald mines. He said they are clearly wrong.

“There is nothing in the world that exists that can detect a gem or a mineral deposit with a spinning satellite dish or anything like that,” said Joshua Hyman, the gemologist. “It’s completely made up.”

Hyman says he has seen emerald mining ventures in Brazil and thinks Pietra Verdi is not legit.

“It’s a major undertaking,” Hyman said. “Walking around with a machine like that in the video is against the logic.”

NBC 7 tried to contact the company several times but received no response. The Costa Rican government is warning would-be investors against collaborating with the company, and news reports identify it as a likely Ponzi scheme shut down by the Brazilian government. We also contacted the Brazilian Federal Police to confirm whether the business had been shut down. We are still awaiting a response.

But Lopez and his friends are still missing thousands of dollars.

“I’m drowning,” Lopez said. “I can’t accept that I lost all my savings, that I made other people lose their money.”

If you see fraud or a scheme, you can report it to the FTC here. The FBI says you can also report investment fraud on its website. here. If it took place on the Internet, you can also report it to Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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