Gettr executives have downplayed Miles Guo’s investment in the company.
Federal authorities seized nearly $3 million from Gettr last September as part of a sweeping billion-dollar fraud investigation into a Chinese billionaire.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department arrested Chinese billionaire and dissident Guo Wengui, also known as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo, for allegedly defrauding thousands of people out of more than $1 billion. Authorities said that Guo carried out the massive fraud through a complex web of investment schemes that has now entangled Trump-aligned social network Gettr.
Guo, an exiled Chinese dissident living in Manhattan, is a prominent Trump supporter and friend to Steve Bannon. A 2021 Daily Beast report revealed that Guo was an original investor in Gettr, where he touts nearly 900,000 followers as of publication. Jason Miller, a longtime Trump adviser and former Gettr CEO, downplayed Guo’s role at the company at the time. In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Guo manipulated his online audience into investing millions into cryptocurrency and anti-CCP media scams.
Guo’s indictment calls into question the extent of his influence over the conservative-friendly social network Gettr. As part of the Justice Department’s investigation, authorities seized a total of $634 million from 21 different bank accounts last September. Around $2.7 million of that money was held in a Gettr account, according to the indictment.
Gettr did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gettr launched in June 2021 as a “free speech” alternative to more mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The launch came at the heels of Trump’s suspensions across major platforms following the deadly January 6th riot at the US Capitol.
Miller stepped down from Gettr to join the former president’s 2024 campaign last month. A source familiar told The Verge Wednesday that a majority of Gettr’s employees were laid off by the end of February. Several of Guo’s Gettr livestreams were also filmed in the company’s New York offices, the source said.
Guo, meanwhile, allegedly made millions off his various schemes. “Kwok is charged with lining his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself, and his close relatives, a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Wednesday.