Crypto crime has been a relative constant in the digital space, and in San Francisco, a new digital currency embezzlement case has just made its way onto the roster of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The instigator this time around is a young man named Jerry Ji Guo, who has been ordered to spend half a year in jail and must pay more than $4 million to the customers he harmed financially.
Guo Must Pay Penalties and Spend Time Behind Bars
Guo has been found guilty of posing as a cryptocurrency consultant. During his tenure, the 33-year-old former journalist claimed to many clients that he was an expert when it came to digital investing and initial coin offerings (ICOs), and ultimately earned quite a bit of money in marketing his services to would-be traders.
U.S. prosecutors have put out a statement claiming that Guo had told customers that he would engage in “consultancy, marketing and publicity services” regarding cryptocurrency trading and events, and that he would place his clients’ funds in the appropriate investing venues, though virtually none of their funds ever went to such enterprises.
Guo had been active for the past several years until he was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2018. At this point, the amount of money he had embezzled potentially exceeds $20 million. At the time of the initial indictment, Guo faced as much as 20 years in prison. Following his arrest, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, while seven other counts were ultimately tossed from the case.
Following payment of the financial penalties and his time in prison, Guo will be required to endure three years of supervised release. The Department of Justice is now working on ensuring that all stolen funds belonging to Guo’s customers are swiftly repaid.
In just the past few months alone, authorities have worked hard to put an end to all crypto-related crime, and some of the cases that have emerged have certainly raised a few eyebrows amongst readers. One such case involved drug dealers who had been found guilty of digital money laundering and funneling their illegal drug funds into digital currencies.
Some of the money was also used to garner a squid permit and a fishing boat to make the culprits appear as though they were about to enter a “seafaring” business. It is estimated that the drug dealers held as many as 392 illegal bitcoin units, which at the time were valued at around $16 million.
Drug Money Goes Into Crypto
In a statement, U.S. attorneys claimed:
The defendant bitcoin was derived from the sales of illegal drugs, including fentanyl patches and opioids dispensed without prescription on the darknet between 2016 and 2019. The vendor began selling illegal prescription drugs on the darknet in approximately 2014 using multiple marketplaces such as Silk Road.