Billionaire businessman Guo Wengui, a political dissident exiled from China, has been arrested and charged in connection with a conspiracy that defrauded thousands of victims out of more than $1 billion.
Guo, whose real name is Ho Wan Kwok, is known by various other monikers, including “Miles Guo,” “Miles Kwok,” “Brother Seven” and “The Principal.” His indictment on Wednesday claims he duped his online followers to invest in multiple scams, including his media company GTV, a loan program via his Himalaya Farm Alliance, a members-only luxury club called G|CLUBS and a cryptocurrency known as Himalaya Coin. The 54-year-old then pocketed the money to buy a 50,000 square-foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, a $62,000 TV, two $36,000 mattresses and a $37 million yacht, according to the Justice Department.
Guo is facing various wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges.
His alleged financier, Kin Ming Je — also known as “William Je” — is facing similar charges, including obstruction of justice.
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement:
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The indictment today alleges the defendants were behind an elaborate scheme that defrauded thousands of individuals of over one billion dollars. Fraudulent investment scams make victims out of innocent people, ultimately harming the public’s confidence in the integrity of financial systems.
The investment scheme began sometime in 2018, authorities said.
Guo, believed to be the mastermind, allegedly lied and promised his victims “outsized returns.”
Guo has been residing in the U.S. since 2015. According to authorities, he founded two nonprofits — the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society — in 2018 and used them to amass followers who agreed with his views on China and believed his statements on investment and money-making opportunities.
Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, described Guo as a “serial fraudster.”
“In reality, Guo took advantage of the hype and allure surrounding crypto and other investments to victimize thousands and fund his and his family’s lavish lifestyle,” Grewal said, according to CNBC.
In 2018, the pair appeared together at a news conference in New York.
About two years later, Bannon was arrested for fraud while aboard Guo’s yacht, the Lady May, as per Reuters. Trump pardoned him before his presidential term ended.
Guo is facing a total of 11 criminal counts. Je, on the other hand, remains at large, and more are believed to be involved in the conspiracy.
Investigation into the case continues. Anyone who believes they are a victim of the conspiracy is encouraged to email [email protected] or submit their information at forms.fbi.gov/NY_GTV.