Carlos Mauricio Cortés Hernández, a successful Colombian car dealer, was found dead in his home on July 21 in a possible suicide that has prompted an investigation by authorities amid speculation surrounding extortion, unpaid debts, and cryptocurrency losses.
Specifically, officials are reportedly looking into threats against the deceased made by an alleged criminal band known as Oficina de San Andresito de la 38, including a member known as “El Africano,” and digging into details that date back to October 21, 2022, when Cortés may have first given money to another automobile seller in Bogotá, Leonardo Zapata Peláez, while investing in a cryptocurrency named dailycop.
According to Cortés, the sum was nearly $650,000 USD, while Zapata said that the debt was near $459,000 USD in an arrangement that reportedly included a Porsche, Land Rover, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz as collateral. Within a month, the menacing phone calls allegedly began on November 17, 2023.
Cortés is believed to have notified authorities that he was being extorted and that El Africano and his criminal ring demanded the return of the luxury wheels he had received. They mentioned that Zapata owed money to others as well and this was why they needed the cars. Feeling cornered, he did not find another solution and handed over the vehicles, according to reports. However, the criminal group carried on calling him until he was found by the police hanged inside his house.
Zapata is believed to have fled the country on November 11 and has said that he was also the subject of relentless threats on a daily basis.
In an interview with El Tiempo, he asserted that he tried to buy back the cars in order to recover the money lost on the Dailycop cryptocurrency, but he supposedly found out that Cortés had forged his signature, presumably trying to sell the cars. Zapata immediately denounced him for robbery. The investigation, which has yet to conclude, showed that there was no theft, however it did expose a breach of trust.
Dailycop, a Now-Infamous Colombian Cryptocurrency
Ricardo Polo Clavijo, a Colombian economist, told Finance Colombia, that cryptocurrency in a general sense remains a risky asset. Many have lost fortunes even on the industry’s most stable coin, bitcoin, by simply losing their wallets or being unable to recover their key phrase passwords. There is no FDIC insurance and regulation remains sparse in many jurisdictions. Anyone who feels they were wronged, deceived, or scammed after suffering losses even in a clearly illegal and unethical scam has nobody to call and nowhere to submit a complaint.
Like thousands of cryptocurrencies, dailycop emerged seemingly out of nowhere in July 2022, as reported by David Millan on his blog. It arrived with the promise of stability, given that it was supposedly tied to the Colombian peso (COP), but investors who believed in this marketing spin were soon surprised by a thunderous fall, which led the founding organization to shut down for good.
A victim from Cali, the biggest city in western Colombia, spent her savings of $62,000 USD and expected a 10% monthly profit, per reports. But when its value plunged, her money disappeared. She went to the authorities, but nobody could be held responsible for the losses and she is unlikely to ever find any recourse.
Many others have similarly felt they were cheated by dailycop. Colombia’s attorney general Office has collected hundreds of fraud complaints regarding this cryptocurrency business, and agents are probing its owners.