Exiled Chinese businessman and billionaire Guo Wengui was arrested in New York on Wednesday and indicted for allegedly running a more than $1 billion fraud scheme and “lining his pockets with the money he stole,” federal prosecutors announced.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Guo lied to his online followers to solicit investments in his businesses, promising them outsized returns if they provided him money.
Guo is also a close ally of Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Guo defrauded thousands of followers out of over $1 billion dollars, using the money to buy a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht. His financial advisor William Je was also charged in connection with the alleged fraud scheme.
Guo’s real name is Ho Wan Kwok but he also goes by “Miles Guo,” “Miles Kwok,” “Brother Seven,” and “The Principal.” He fled China in 2014 and went to the U.S. after being accused of corruption and other crimes by Chinese officials.
Guo was once ranked the 73rd richest person in China.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also charged the duo with misusing investor funds in connection with GTV Media Group, which was founded in 2020 by Guo and Bannon. The SEC said Guo and Je diverted $100 million of investor money to a hedge fund that solely benefitted a company owned by Guo’s son.