DOJ goes after California man who stole $20 million in crypto ICO

DOJ goes after California man who stole $20 million in crypto ICO

Jerry Ji Guo has to provide restitution and spend several months behind bars

United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair announced this past Tuesday that Jerry Ji Guo has been sentenced for being involved in a scheme to defraud his clients of cash and cryptocurrency through a failed initial coin offering (ICO). As part of his sentence, Guo will have to pay the amount of $4,392,636 in restitution and was sentenced to a term of six months in prison.

On August 26, 2019, Guo, who is 33 years old and a resident of San Francisco, CA, pleaded guilty to duping investors. He admitted to posing as an “ICO consultant” and giving fake promises to his clients regarding publicity and marketing services. Instead of providing those services, he embezzled the clients’ cash and cryptocurrency.

Given the facts, US Attorney Anderson 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.”

Guo was also charged with eight counts of wire fraud back on November 15, 2018, by a federal grand jury. Seven counts were dismissed after he pleaded guilty to only one. As part of that deal, he agreed to cooperate with the government to identify his victims and return the illegally-acquired property. Now, in addition to his current sentence, Judge Freeman has also demanded a three-year period of supervised release. The current value of all the assets that were seized from Guo now total around $20 million.

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