Miles Guo, an exiled businessman, was arrested this morning in New York over a $1 billion fraud conspiracy involving cryptocurrency.
Guo, who goes by multiple names, defrauded thousands of online followers and bought himself and people close to him “a 50,000 square-foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
Guo is also reportedly linked to Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist to former President Donald Trump. In 2020 Bannon was charged with fraud and arrested on Guo’s yacht, before Trump pardoned him as one of his last acts in office.
Kin Ming Je, also known as William Je, and Guo “fraudulently induced” followers to fund an online membership club called G|CLUBS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York said.
Guo and Je also “fraudulently obtained” more than $262 million through the so-called Himalaya Exchange, a crypto “ecosystem” that said it had a stablecoin called the Himalaya Dollar and a trading coin called the Himalaya Coin, the department said. Guo and Je face 11 counts together, amounting to decades in possible prison time. Je is still at large, the DOJ said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also brought its own charges against the pair on Wednesday for raising more than $850 million in “unregistered and fraudulent offerings.” Guo was charged solely for raising hundreds of millions of dollars through the Himalaya Coin and the related stablecoin, the SEC said.
“Guo allegedly has made material misrepresentations to prospective investors in H-Coin, falsely stating that 20 percent of H-Coin’s value was backed by gold and that he would personally compensate investors for any potential losses,” the SEC said.
The SEC said the H-Coins were unregistered securities.