Katia Wanzeler, Wife Of Alleged TelexFree Fugitive, Remains In Federal Custody As Couple’s 22nd Wedding Anniversary Nears

newtelexfreelogoUPDATED 11:13 A.M. EDT U.S.A. Katia Helia Wanzeler, the wife of alleged TelexFree fugitive Carlos Wanzeler, remains in federal custody, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Katia, 49, is listed as an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, a federal facility situated in the largest (by population) of New York City’s five boroughs. She is expected to be moved to Massachusetts to make an appearance before a grand jury investigating TelexFree, an alleged pyramid- and Ponzi scheme that gathered $1.2 billion.

Details of the move are unclear. Katia, a resident of Northborough, Mass., was arrested as a material witness last week at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, after “someone in Brazil” allegedly purchased her a one-way ticket to fly there. Her husband allegedly flew to Brazil on April 17, after ducking into Canada late on the evening of April 15. TelexFree’s offices in Marlborough, Mass., were raided at approximately 2 p.m. on that date.

Records in Worcester, Mass., show that the former Katia Helia Barbosa wed Carlos Nataniel Wanzeler on June 20, 1992. If Carlos Wanzeler remains in Brazil, it means he does so as the couple’s 22nd wedding anniversary approaches and his wife is being detained by U.S. authorities.

It also means that he remains in Brazil while James Merrill, his TelexFree business partner, remains in a U.S. jail. Merrill was arrested in Worcester on May 9 on a charge of wire-fraud conspiracy. Both Merrill and Wanzeler also face civil actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Massachusetts Securities Division, the state-level regulator. In addition, they face at least two prospective class-action lawsuits, including one that alleges violations of the federal racketeering (RICO) statute.

At a TelexFree confab in Spain earlier this year, Merrill spoke of Carlos Wanzeler in glowing terms, calling him one of “the greatest leaders” he’d ever met. He said the same thing about Carlos Costa, a business partner and TelexFree figure in Brazil.

Whether Merrill continues to hold Carlos Wanzeler and Carlos Costa in high regard is unclear.

TelexFree appears to have had at least one video personality with the surname of Barbosa: Helio Barbosa. Whether he is related to Katia Helia (née Barbosa) Wanzeler was not immediately clear. At least one YouTube video in Portuguese shows Helio Barbosa with Carlos Wanzeler. The video appears to have been shot at a TelexFree event in Newport Beach, Calif., in July 2013.

A TelexFree report aired in recent hours on the Brazilian television show “Fantastico” suggested that TelexFree continued to operate in Brazil. A link to a print version of the report was posted by a reader of BehindMLM.com.

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7 Responses to “Katia Wanzeler, Wife Of Alleged TelexFree Fugitive, Remains In Federal Custody As Couple’s 22nd Wedding Anniversary Nears”

  1. Quick note: As reported previously, one of the cashier’s checks founded at TelexFree headquarters during the April 15 raid allegedly was made out to “Katia B. Wanzeler.” It was for more than $2 million.

    I’m wondering now if the “B” was for Barbosa.



  2. They should of learned from Zeek Rewards, as Dawn shed some tears in the court room as well. But these scheme keep poping up. Good job on reavealing these scams Mr P.


  3. I’ve got the feeling there are going to be many more wedding anniversaries that are going to be spent apart.

  4. I don’t doubt the feds wanted to have a long sit-down with Katia, but what really surprises me is Carlos lack of response.

    I believe Katia is as much a pawn as anything. What they really want is for Carlos to return to the mainland USA and face the music, since extradition is virtually impossible. She’s the bait – give her limited immunity from prosecution in return for his surrender. But, so far, she remains in custody, and he remains in hiding. Perhaps the motivation to save his own ass is stronger than anything he may have felt for Katia. Hell; she’s only his wife and mother of his child. Doesn’t exactly fit my definition of a man, but I suppose in the life of a scammer, No.1 comes before anything and anyone…


  5. Carlos can easily find a replacement for katia. She’s 49. he can find someone younger in Brazil and still maintain a relationship with his daughter in italy and the one boy in MA. So you really think he’s going to face 20 years in prison over a woman that in his view, screwed up her escape? Unlikely. That’s for romance novels. He is probably more worried about saving his own skin than hers. Additionally, as a fugitive he is pretty much guaranteed to go to prison if he ever comes back or is brought back to face justice in the U.S.
    Who is to say he will stay in Brazil and not flee to another country or island somewhere and never be found? If Brazil won’t extradite him, he can do whatever he wants. How much money did he hide in Brazil for the last two years? If he’s living there, how is he paying for his living expenses? How is he not spotted by anyone?

  6. Helio barbosa is the top telexfree promoter im Mass. After telexfree shutdown he moved to florida to avoid the brasilian community in Framingham