DOJ Arrests Early Bitcoin Investor Roger Ver, ‘Bitcoin Jesus,’ on Charges of Tax Fraud

Roger Ver, a prominent early investor in Bitcoin and famously dubbed “Bitcoin Jesus,” has been indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on charges of mail fraud, tax evasion, and filing false tax returns. Ver was arrested over the weekend in Spain based on these criminal charges, and the U.S. intends to seek his extradition for trial.


— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) April 30, 2024

The indictment alleges that Ver, formerly of Santa Clara, California, owned and operated Inc. and Inc., both of which were involved in selling computer and networking equipment. Starting in 2011, Ver purportedly began acquiring bitcoins for himself and his companies, amassing a significant amount by 2014, totaling around 131,000 bitcoins with a value of approximately $240 million.

Ver then obtained citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2014 and renounced his U.S. citizenship shortly thereafter, in a process known as expatriation. This action subjected him to U.S. tax laws, including reporting capital gains from the sale of his worldwide assets, including bitcoins, and paying an “exit tax” on those gains.

The indictment alleges that Ver provided false or misleading information to a law firm and an appraiser, concealing the true number of bitcoins owned by him and his companies. This resulted in the preparation and filing of false tax returns that significantly undervalued the companies and their bitcoin holdings.

By 2017, Ver’s companies still held approximately 70,000 bitcoins, which he allegedly sold on cryptocurrency exchanges for around $240 million. Despite not being a U.S. citizen at the time, Ver was still legally obligated to report to the IRS and pay taxes on certain distributions, which he allegedly failed to do, causing a loss to the IRS estimated at over $48 million, the indictment stated.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada announced the charges, with IRS Criminal Investigation’s cybercrimes unit handling the case. An indictment is an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.


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