Two OneCoin promoters have been found in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.
The bodies of Oscar Brito Ibarra and Ignacio Ibarra (no relation), were stuffed into suitcases and dumped in a vacant lot.
An examination determined suffocation as the cause of death.
Local Mexican authorities are treating the deaths as homicide and an investigation is underway.
Before we get underway, I want to give full credit to La Tercera for doing the legwork on this story. A BehindMLM reader also provided supplementary information.
Oscar Brito (right) was a waiter living at home with his parents in Chile.
He appears to have gotten involved in MLM in late 2017, starting with forex trading schemes.
Sometime in 2017 Brito signed up as a OneCoin affiliate.
This was after OneCoin’s Ponzi scheme had collapsed, leaving only the pyramid recruitment side operational.
Thus in order to convince people to invest, Brito had to pitch them on OneCoin’s failed ecommerce platform, DealShaker.
Brito partnered up with a small group of Chilean OneCoin affiliates, and together they promoted the scam across Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.
Things were getting desperate towards the end of 2019. Around this time Brito learned of the Latin American Automotive Marketing Company (CLA).
CLA operated in Argentina and Colombia. The company’s business model saw it accept cryptocurrency as payment for cars.
Brito is believed to have traveled to Argentina to meet CLA representative Cristian Cabrera.
The idea was to get CLA to accept OneCoin and promote its service on DealShaker.
In February 2020, Cabrera and another CLA representative, Ignacio Ibarra, traveled to Chile to promote the scheme.
Offer new Toyota cars and trucks for an initial investment of $1,000.
Then he says that you have to deposit another $400 in patent registration fees and other paperwork.
Insured the car’s quota, the rest will be paid in cryptocurrencies to finalize the purchase at a reduced price thanks to the OneCoin system.
Oscar Brito was seen as a local CLA representative, lending credibility to the scheme among local OneCoin promoters.
Promotion of CLA to Chile’s OneCoin community wrapped up on March 1st. A week later Brito traveled to Mexico to visit CLA’s head office.
By this stage reports of CLA scamming people in other countries had emerged.
In Argentina, there are 140 people who report being scammed by CLA at the end of last year.
La Tercera contacted one of them, who prefers to remain anonymous: according to their calculations, between them they would have lost nearly 400 thousand dollars.
She also adds that they are gathering evidence to prosecute the complaint.
I was also able to track down this post from OneLife Latam, which suggests OneCoin affiliates in other countries, Colombia in this instance, were weary of CLA’s offer.
A promotion on YouTube by Aldo Leguizamón, who identifies himself as a representative of Cripto Travel, claims he had “an agreement to be the exclusive CLA promotion and presale agent in” Chile.
Naturally, the OneCoin investors conned into signing up for CLA’s DealShaker deal never received their cars.
It’s worth noting that since launch, DealShaker and fake car deals have gone hand in hand.
Attempts by OneCoin affiliates to reach CLA proved futile. One group of promoters however did manage to track down Cristián Cabrera and Ignacio Ibarra.
They, in turn, blamed Leguizamón and explained that they could not answer for the lost money.
In subsequent conversations, Ibarra promised to find a solution. This never came.
Instead Cabrera and Ibarra continued to travel between Santiago and Mexico City, promoting CLA’s offer.
Rewinding back to Oscar Brito’s March trip to CLA’s head office in Mexico, the COVID-19 pandemic saw Chile close its bordered on March 18th.
While effectively stuck in Mexico, Brito continued to promote the CLA Dealshaker scheme with Ignacio Ibarra.
According to a client, he participated in at least one Zoom briefing with Ignacio Ibarra (and Oscar Brito), in which they both explained the business of cars with cryptocurrencies, wearing company hats on their heads.
In April 2020 Cristian Cabrera let CLA. He maintains that Brito “was a great man”.
Brito’s last known social media posting was an April 17th Instagram post, celebrating his daughter’s birthday.
On June 20th Brito and Ibarra traveled to Mazatlan, Sinaloa. The exact reason for the trip is unclear, although people Brito was in contact claim “they were sent by CLA to attract clients”.
A few days later, the bodies of Brito and Ibarra were found.
Brito remained in contact with friends back in Chile up until his disappearance.
According to those in contact with him, Brito appeared happy but missed his daughter. He never conveyed signs of feeling threatened or being in danger.
All we know at this stage is Brito and Ibarra convinced an undisclosed number of OneCoin affiliates to give CLA money.
Despite promised cars never being delivered, the pair continued to promote CLA to unsuspecting victims.
A few days after Brito’s and Ibarra’s bodies were found, CLA shut down its website and went dark.
Sinaloa is home to the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, infamously known as “the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world”.
Citing a recent US DEA report, La Tercera floats the idea that organized crime might be involved.
According to the study, some Mexican cartels, such as Los Zetas, Jalisco Nueva Generación and Sinaloa, have been laundering money with virtual currencies for some time.
“There is evidence of the use of cryptocurrencies by Mexican transnational criminal organizations as a means to transfer their international wealth,” the document details.
Whether Mexican authorities are able to piece together exactly what happened remains to be seen.