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‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Charged With Evading Nearly $50 Million in Taxes

Roger Ver was charged with mail fraud, tax evasion, and filing false returns in order to avoid paying at least $48 million in U.S. taxes.

By Olga Kharif, Bloomberg News (TNS)

Roger Ver, an early crypto investor who was sometimes referred to as “Bitcoin Jesus,” has been charged with mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false returns in order to avoid paying at least $48 million in U.S. taxes.

Ver, who acquired the moniker after proselytizing about Bitcoin everywhere he went in the cryptocurrency’s early days, was arrested this weekend in Spain on U.S. criminal charges, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment. The U.S. will seek Ver’s extradition.

The charges are the latest by U.S. authorities against high-profile crypto entrepreneurs amid a crackdown on questionable practices in the embryonic sector over the past few years. Changpeng Zhao, a co-founder of the world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance, was sentenced Tuesday to four months in jail. Sam Bankman-Fried, former chief executive officer of the FTX crypto exchange, received 25 years in prison.

Ver, 45, didn’t immediately return a request for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment beyond the indictment. 

U.S. authorities accuse Ver of failing to report capital gains or pay taxes on his holdings of Bitcoin, which he started to acquire in 2011. While Ver renounced his U.S. citizenship and became a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis in 2014, he was still required to file U.S. tax returns that reported gains from certain assets such as Bitcoin, as well as fair-market value of those assets. He was also required to pay tax on those gains. By Feb. 4, 2014, Ver and his companies owned approximately 131,000 Bitcoin, the government said.  

While a law firm was helping to prepare his tax returns, “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,” the Justice Department said. “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.”

In November 2017, Ver sold tens of thousands of Bitcoin for about $240 million, the indictment said. Ver allegedly didn’t tell his accountant about the sale. As a result, the IRS missed out on “at least $48 million” it should have received, the document alleges.

The Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California made the announcement. IRS Criminal Investigation’s cybercrimes unit is investigating the case.

Ver was an early investor not only in Bitcoin, but also in companies such as crypto exchanges Kraken and

While Ver first supported Bitcoin, he left the community after a disagreement over whether to change the way Bitcoin’s network functioned—a disagreement he detailed in a book he released this year. Since 2017, he has instead supported an offshoot coin called Bitcoin Cash. 


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