Roger Ver, aka “Bitcoin Jesus,” Accused of $48M Tax Fraud

Roger Ver, known as ‘Bitcoin Jesus,’ has been arrested in Spain for failing to report $240 million in Bitcoin sales, evading $48 million in taxes.

He is charged with tax evasion and mail fraud, with allegations of hiding 131,000 Bitcoins.

Key Takeaways
  • Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin investor, has been charged with tax evasion involving nearly $50 million following his renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
  • Ver allegedly sold $240 million worth of Bitcoin in 2017, failing to report or pay taxes on the sale despite legal obligations.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice has unsealed an indictment and is pursuing Ver’s extradition from Spain for trial.

Early Bitcoin Investor Faces Serious Tax Evasion Charges

On April 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin investor, charging him with multiple criminal offenses, including mail fraud, tax evasion, and filing false tax returns.

Known in the cryptocurrency community as “Bitcoin Jesus,” Ver is accused of evading nearly $50 million in taxes. He was arrested in Spain, where he currently resides, awaiting extradition to the United States.

Background and Initial Bitcoin Acquisitions

Starting in 2011, Roger Ver, who was then a resident of Santa Clara, California, began investing in Bitcoin through his companies, Inc. and Inc.

These companies, which dealt with computer and networking equipment, accumulated about 73,000 BTC.

By February 2014, Ver had renounced his U.S. citizenship after obtaining citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis, triggering a legal requirement to file tax returns that reported capital gains from the constructive sale of his worldwide assets, including those Bitcoins.

Alleged Tax Evasion and Legal Proceedings

According to the indictment, Ver allegedly provided false information to a law firm and an appraiser to underreport the value of his assets and Bitcoin, leading to the filing of incorrect tax returns.

By June 2017, Ver’s companies still held about 70,000 BTC, a portion of which he sold for approximately $240 million in November 2017.

Despite the substantial income from this sale, Ver reportedly concealed the transaction from his accountant, failing to report any gain or pay related taxes for that year.

The Investigation and Legal Team

The IRS Criminal Investigation’s cybercrimes unit is handling the case against Ver. Assistant Chief Matthew J. Kluge, Trial Attorney Peter J. Anthony of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney James C. Hughes for the Central District of California are leading the prosecution.

This high-profile case highlights the ongoing scrutiny of financial activities associated with cryptocurrencies.

Implications and Public Perception

This indictment is a significant marker in the U.S. government’s approach to tax enforcement in cryptocurrency.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada have pointed out the seriousness with which the government views tax evasion, particularly involving substantial sums and cryptocurrencies.

The situation with Roger Ver might also change people’s perceptions of Bitcoin and other digital currencies as mechanisms for financial transparency or, conversely, tax evasion.

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