The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a 12-count criminal fraud indictment against Chinese billionaire Ho Wan Kwok, otherwise known as Miles Guo, on Wednesday while calling upon potential victims to come forward.
Some victims may be in B.C., as the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) previously issued a cautionary notice against Kwok’s GTV Media Group, which is central to the allegations.
Kwok has other alleged ties to B.C., as the alleged financial backer of a high-profile protest against Chinese Communist Party dissident and Surrey resident blogger Bingchen Gao.
Kwok is alleged with others to have conducted a “sprawling and complex scheme” that has resulted in approximately $634 million from 21 different bank accounts being seized by American law enforcement officials.
“As alleged, Ho Wan Kwok, known to many as ‘Miles Guo,’ led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of over $1 billion dollars. Kwok 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,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement March 15.
“As alleged, Kwok lied to his victims and promised them outsized returns if they invested, or provided money to, GTV, his so-called Himalaya Farm Alliance, G|CLUBS, and the Himalaya Exchange,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote.
GTV is said to have solicited investors in B.C., the BCSC stated on May 29, 2020. The company did not file the necessary investment documents (prospectus) to solicit such investments, the provincial securities regulator stated at the time, while “urging” B.C. residents to “exercise caution when dealing with companies that are not registered to issue shares.”
“Kwok is further charged with laundering hundreds of millions of stolen funds to conceal the conspiracy’s illegal activities and continue the fraud’s operations,” which occurred between 2018 and this month, the DOJ stated.
Kwok, alleged the DOJ, raised approximately $452 million worth of GTV common stock, purportedly sold to more than 5,500 investors. Investors participated in the GTV private placement believing their money would be invested into GTV to develop and grow that business.
This year, a Richmond resident came forward to media to tell his story about how he was allegedly lured into believing conspiracies about Chinese political dissidents via Kwok’s New Federal State of China organization.
The indictment hints at Kwok’s political activity: “In or about 2018, [Kwok] founded two purported non-profit organizations, namely, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society. [Kwok] used the non-profit organizations to amass followers who were aligned with his purported policy objectives in China and who were also inclined to believe [Kwok’s] statements regarding investment and money-making opportunities.”
The DOJ has set up an email and website for possible victims of Kwok’s alleged crimes.
The full indictment is found online.