SAN FRANCISCO—Jerry Ji Guo, of San Francisco was sentenced in U.S. District Court in San Jose on Tuesday, January 26. Guo was involved in a scheme to defraud his clients of cash and cryptocurrency in connection with an initial coin offering.
He admitted to representing himself as an initial coin offering. Guo promised clients that he would perform marketing and publicity services, but embezzled the clients’ cash. A federal grand jury indicted Guo November 15, 2018 and charged him with eight counts of wire fraud.
In a press release, FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair stated:
“The FBI is tasked with pursuing crimes and the various means and methods that criminals use to commit those crimes. In the financial sector, cryptocurrency has emerged as a significant threat as it affords criminals with a space to conduct 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.”
Guo pleaded guilty to one count and the remaining counts were dismissed. In addition to pleading guilty, he agreed to cooperate with the government in the identification and return of property through the forfeiture process. In his plea agreement he stipulated to the forfeiture of roughly $200,000 in cash, 350 Bitcoin, and nearly 7,000 units of Ether, the crypto coin that powers the Ethereum platform.
On November 14, 2019, the United States government obtained a stipulated application for a preliminary order of forfeiture and also obtained warrants to seize the stolen cash and cryptocurrency. On February 26, 2020, the government obtained a final order of forfeiture against the stolen property and has the ability to return the stolen property. The current value of the cash that was stolen is estimated to be more than $20 million.
Guo is sentenced to pay $4,392,636.14 in restitution and he has been ordered to do a six-month prison term. In addition to his prison term, he is ordered to do a three-year period of supervised release.