US Man Sentenced to Prison for Fraud Of Over $20M From ICO Investors

A man from San Francisco will go to jail after a US court convicted him of multi-million dollar cryptocurrency fraud, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement on Tuesday.

33-year-old Jerry Guo was sentenced to six months in prison by US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman and nearly $4.4 million in restitution after pleading guilty to ICO fraud.

During the ICO craze height in 2018, Guo introduced himself to his clients as an ICO advisor and offered to run marketing and consulting services for cryptocurrency startups.

Guo Pleaded Guilty

Guo admitted to the fraud and stated that he was posing as an advisor for the ICO and promised to provide marketing and advertising services to his customers. Instead, Guo has misused cash and cryptocurrency funds from customers.

Attorney General Anderson said that some criminals mistakenly believe that cryptos are beyond the reach of law enforcement. The case shows that criminal seizures can be used to compensate victims of fraud, even if the scam involves digital assets.

FBI special agent in charge of Craig D. Fair in San Francisco stated that the FBI’s job is to investigate the crime and the ways and methods criminals use to commit these crimes. In the financial sector, crypto has emerged as a significant threat; it provides space for criminals to carry out activities challenging to track and detect.

In this regard, the FBI relies on private-sector partners to respond appropriately to legal proceedings so that it can make efforts to locate and seize the stolen cryptocurrency.

Guo Made Away With More than $20 Million

On November 15, 2018, a federal jury charged Guo with eight physical fraud cases that violated 18 US laws, section 1343. Guo pleaded guilty to one of them, and the other charges got dropped.

Not only did he plead guilty, but also agreed to work with the government to identify and return property through the confiscation process. On November 14, 2019, the government accepted the preliminary planned decision to request foreclosure. The government also received orders to confiscate stolen money and cryptocurrency and welcomed the final decision to seize the stolen property on February 26, 2020. Therefore, the government can now return the stolen property to the victims.

According to the government, cash and cryptocurrencies’ cash value estimate at over $ 20 million. The Money Laundering and Property Reclamation Division, part of the Justice Department in Washington, will use the victim recovery process to return stolen property to victims.

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Apart from the arrest and restitution, Judge Freeman sentenced the defendant to three years in prison. Assistant US attorneys Daniel Caleba and Chris Calcas are following the case with help from Ellis Ether. 

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