‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Roger Ver arrested on $50m tax fraud

According to an unsealed U.S. Department of Justice indictment, early Bitcoin investor Roger Ver was charged with tax evasion and arrested in Spain. 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment alleges that Ver promoted Bitcoin (BTC) and acquired the leading cryptocurrency through personal funds and two companies starting in 2011. 

Also known as “Bitcoin Jesus,” Ver renounced his U.S. citizenship through expatriation in February 2014 and secured citizenship from St. Kitts and Nevis, per the Justice Department.  At this point, Ver was supposedly required to file tax returns for capital gains from his Bitcoin-inclusive holdings and disclose the fair market value of his assets under U.S. laws. 

Ver reportedly owned around 131,000 bitcoins personally and another 73,000 through MemoryDealers.com Inc. and Agilestar.com Inc. Both entities were domiciled in the U.S. and remained subject to U.S. legislation. 

DOJ prosecutors alleged that Ver liquidated several thousands of Bitcoin in 2017 for an estimated $240 million but never paid capital gains or exit tax as mandated by law, despite him no longer being a U.S. citizen. 

The indictment explains that the investor was still legally obligated to report certain distributions, such as company dividends for MemeoryDealers and Agilestar. 

Instead, the Justice Department claimed that Ver hid his accounts from the IRS and concealed proceeds from the 2017 Bitcoin sales, with a tax bill of over $48 million due. The United States government will seek to extradite Ver following his arrest in Europe and prosecute him on American soil. 

Ver was a prominent Bitcoin evangelist in the early days of crypto and went on to serve as CEO of Bitcoin.com, one of the first platforms where users could store and trade the world’s largest blockchain asset.

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