Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon greets fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui before introducing him at a news conference on November 20, 2018 in New York.
Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images
The controversial Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, an associate of former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon, was arrested in New York on Wednesday for orchestrating what federal prosecutors called a more than $1 billion fraud conspiracy that duped online followers with promises of “outsized” investment returns .
Prosecutors said they have seized more than $650 million in alleged fraud proceeds from 21 different bank accounts as part of the case in Manhattan federal court.
The Securities and Exchange Commission separately filed a civil complaint against Guo, who is known by multiple different names, including Miles Guo and Miles Kwok.
Also charged in the criminal and civil cases is Guo’s financier Kin Ming Je, also known as William Je.
In a statement, Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said, “As alleged, Ho Wan Kwok, known to many as ‘Miles Guo,’ led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of over $1 billion dollars.”
“Kwok is charged with lining his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself, and his close relatives, a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht,” Williams said.
The defendants are charged with wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering in the criminal case.
Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said the agency alleges Guo “was a serial fraudster, who raised more than $850 million by promising investors outsized returns on purported crypto, technology and luxury good investment opportunities.”
“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.
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