Former Journalist Allegedly Hoodwinks Over $3.5M in Digital Assets

A former journalist who once wrote for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Newsweek could be facing up to 20 years in prison over his involvement in a number of scams that purportedly amassed over $3.5 million worth of Bitcoin.

As detailed in a report published November 20 by the Daily Beast, 31-year-old Yale University alumnus Jerry Ji Guo was arrested on November 9 on counts of wire fraud. According to allegations, Guo purportedly defrauded a number of firms who previously hired him as a consultant, allowing him to swipe millions in digital assets.

Touting himself as an expert, Guo allegedly carried out the fraudulent scheme by promoting an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), hoodwinking clients into paying a deposit for his services via a number of digital wallets. According to reports, on August 19, the suspect purportedly emptied those wallets, amassing over $3.5 million worth of digital assets, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

As further detailed in an affidavit filed in court, FBI agent Mark Matulich claimed that the suspect allegedly hoodwinked investors by “intentionally making materially false and misleading statements about his experience and credentials as an ICO consultant.”

Upon collecting the payments, Guo purportedly did “little to no work as promised under the contracts” and subsequently withdrew all the digital assets from the wallets unbeknownst to the investors.

As Matulich alleged further, the FBI also discovered that most of the clients Guo indicated in his resume were fake and have never been professionally connected with him. In addition, Guo also claimed to have led a number of ICOs, of which one has generated over $100 million for a firm called Polymath.

However, Matulich noted that “Polymath ended its relationship with Guo after about a month and a half because Guo did not actually do anything.”

Guo will now be consigned to San Jose California where he will be facing multiple legal charges. If convicted, Guo could potentially be facing up to 20 years in prison, according to the report.