A federal judge sentenced a cryptocurrency fraudster named Jerry Ji Guo to prison and return the funds he embezzled from his victims.
Court documents showed that the current value of the cash and cryptocurrency Guo stole from investors is more than $20 million.
Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the U.S. District Court of Northern California ordered Guo to pay over $4.39 million in restitution to cryptocurrency investors whom he defrauded. Judge Freeman also sentenced him to six months in prison and a three-year period of supervised release.
In November 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Guo and charged him with eight counts of wire fraud.
In August 2019, Guo pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and the judge dismissed the remaining counts.
In his plea, he admitted defrauding investors in connection with an initial coin offering (ICO). He deceived investors by representing himself as an ICO consultant and promising to provide marketing and publicity services. Instead of performing his promised services, Guo embezzled the investors’ cash and cryptocurrency.
Additionally, Guo cooperated with the government in the identification and return of the cash and cryptocurrency he embezzled through a forfeiture process.
In November 2019, the court granted the government’s request for a preliminary order of forfeiture and warrants to seize the stolen cash and cryptocurrency.
In February 2020, the government obtained a final order to forfeit the stolen property. Currently, the government is in a position to return them to Guo’s victims.
The FBI uses all resources to find and seize stolen cryptocurrency
In a statement, U.S. Attorney David Anderson of the Northern District of California said, “Some criminals believe mistakenly that cryptocurrency is beyond the reach of law enforcement. This case shows we can use criminal forfeiture to compensate fraud victims even when cryptocurrency is used in the fraud.”
On the other hand, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair commented, “In the financial sector, cryptocurrency has emerged as a significant threat as it affords criminals with a space to conduct an activity that is particularly difficult to trace and detect. In this case, the FBI relied upon partners in the private sector to respond appropriately to legal process so the FBI could make efforts to locate and seize stolen cryptocurrency.”
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