Chinese businessman and founder of H-Coin Miles Guo is accused of being part of multiple scams that have defrauded investors out of $1.4 billion.
Miles Guo, who has been exiled out of China, was arrested in New York on Wednesday morning with allegations of conducting a series of schemes intended to fraud retail investors for a combined amount of $1.4 billion.
Guo, otherwise known as Ho Wan Kwok, or Guo Wengui, was alleged to conduct four schemes, three of which were related to GTV Media Group.
GTV Media Group is a social media company formed in April 2020 by Guo and Steve Bannon – notable for being former US President Donald Trump’s advisor and longtime ally. The alleged schemes related to GTV Media Group have raised an estimated $857 million. Bannon however has not been charged with any wrongdoings in connection with GTV.
The fourth scheme, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) civil complaint, scammed $500 million out of retail investors out of a separate crypto venture called H-Coin, otherwise known as Himalaya Coin.
H-Coin was founded by Guo in October 2021, and had actively promoted the cryptocurrency by telling his social media followers that the coin was 20% backed by gold, and promised to cover “100% of investment losses attributable to H-Coin.” Bannon also helped promote the currency.
Four months after H-Coin’s launch, Guo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2022, claiming assets valued between $50,000 and $100,000, with liabilities up to $500 million. Before filing for bankruptcy, Guo lived a lavish lifestyle which prosecutors say was funded by unsuspecting investors.
While Guo claims to be financially unstable, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday that it seized over $630 million worth of alleged fraud proceeds from 21 separate bank accounts owned and controlled by Guo combined between September 2022, and March 2023.
“[Guo] 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,” detailed a press release from the US Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York.
According to the press release, Guo currently faces 11 counts of fraud and money laundering charges.
Hours after the Wednesday arrest, Guo’s luxury 15-room penthouse apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side caught fire, and is currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Back in 2014, Guo fled his native country China as he was anticipating charges of fraud. Guo filed for political asylum in the US in 2017 upon being wanted by the Chinese government. Guo’s application still remains pending.