Exiled Chinese Businessman Stole $1 Billion to Fund Lifestyle

Opening arguments in the trial of Miles Guo began in a Manhattan courtroom on May 24 with the prosecution accusing the exiled Chinese businessman of scamming over one billion dollars from his online followers and using the money to enrich himself and his family.

Guo, a business associate of pro-Trump podcaster Steve Bannon, was indicted by the Justice Department in March 2023 on 12 counts of racketeering, fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.

Guo, who also goes by the names Guo Wengui, Ho Wan Kwok, and Miles Kwok, has been in custody since his arrest on March 15, 2023.

According to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York at the time of his arrest, Guo, along with Kin Ming Je (AKA William Je), allegedly solicited investments in various projects through false representations and false statements to hundreds of thousands of his online followers.

Guo defrauded his followers out of more than $1 billion obtained through fraud which he then used for funding his lavish lifestyle, including purchasing a $3.5 million Ferrari, a 50,000 sq. ft. mansion, and a $37 million yacht – the same yacht on which Steve Bannon was arrested in 2020 for a separate fraud case involving funding for a border wall.

In his opening statement on May 24, Assistant US Attorney Micah Fergenson told the jury that Guo built his massive online following by posting videos critical of the Chinese Communist Party. After his assets in China and Hong Kong were seized, Guo started pitching investments in his fraudulent business schemes, Fergenson said.

Fergenson described Guo’s scheme as a “simple con on a grand scale,” allowing him to live “a billionaire’s lifestyle” on the proceeds from those he “tricked and cheated.”

Defense attorney Sabrina Shroff told jurors in her opening statement that Guo’s businesses were legitimate. She argued that the defendant sought to build a movement to oppose the Chinese regime.

Shroff claimed that the steps Guo took, including owning multiple bank accounts and phones, were common-sense actions to protect him from the Chinese government’s efforts to disrupt his work in the United States.