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‘Bitcoin Jesus’ charged with tax fraud and arrested in Spain

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'Bitcoin Jesus' charged with tax fraud and arrested in Spain

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  • Early Bitcoin investor has been arrested in Spain over this weekend for alleged tax evasion charges in the United States
  • This is the second time Ver is arrested by the US authorities

Just as the crypto space mules over the fate of former Binance CEO – Changpeng Zhao, the United States Department of Justice has announced charges against another prominent crypto player. The person under the DoJ’s radar is Roger Ver aka Bitcoin Jesus who gained his moniker for being an early Bitcoin investor.

The US DoJ has claimed that Ver has “evaded nearly $50M in taxes”. The charges against him have led to his arrest in Spain this weekend, according to a press release. Additionally, it was also stated that the authorities will seek his “extradition to stand trial in the United States.”

The case presented against ‘Bitcoin Jesus’

In the press release, the authorities asserted that the tax evasion occurred when Ver renounced his US citizenship in favour of St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship.

Before the citizenship swap, Ver owned two firms in the US – MemoryDealers.com and Agilestar.com, which sold computer and networking equipment. And, Ver had purchased Bitcoins for himself and under the name of these two companies back in 2011. As of February 2014, the total number of Bitcoins owned by Ver and his companies was nearly 131,0000 BTC, and the companies alone accounted for 73,000 of those BTCs.

Notably, as per US laws, expatriates are required to “file tax returns that reported capital gains from the constructive sale of his world-wide assets, including the bitcoins”. In addition to this, he was “to report the fair market value of his assets”, and “pay a tax – referred to as an exit tax – on those capital gains.”

And, the US DoJ claims that it was here that Ver played a foul game. The Department of Justice said,

“Ver allegedly provided or caused to be provided false or misleading information to the law firm and appraiser that concealed the true number of bitcoins he and his companies owned. As a result, the law firm allegedly prepared and filed false tax returns that substantially undervalued the two companies and their 73,000 bitcoins and did not report that Ver owned any bitcoins personally.”

Additionally, the US authority claimed Ver had sold most of the BTCs belonging to the companies for nearly $240 million in cash in November 2017. This was the same timeline when Bitcoin had grabbed international headlines for breaking records and the coin hitting a high of $20,000 the next month.


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On the sale, the DoJ claimed that Ver failed “to report IRS and pay tax on certain distributions such as dividends from MemoryDealers and Agilestar, which were U.S corporations”. The press release further said,

“Ver allegedly concealed from his accountant that he had received and sold MemoryDealers’ and Agilestar’s bitcoins that year. As a result, Ver’s 2017 individual income tax return did not report any gain or pay any tax related to the distribution of MemoryDealers’ and Agilestar’s bitcoins to him.”

Notably, this would not be the Ver’s first foray with US authorities. In 2002, the early Bitcoin investor served 10 months of federal prison time in the United States. Ver was sentenced for illegally selling injurious substances through eBay between January 1999 to August 2000.

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Priya is a freelance cryptocurrency writer at AMBCrypto. A student in business administration, Priya focuses on the latest developments in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology space.
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