The Commission has sued William Koo Ichioka in the Northern District of California. The regulator accuses the American for embezzling $21 million of investors' money. The defendant, according to the CFTC, introduced himself as a cryptocurrency and forex trader, using funds of depositors at his discretion, paying out profits to old investors at the expense of new ones.
According to the CFTC, more than 100 individuals and entities were involved in the scheme. The pyramid mastermind created a common pool called Ichioka Ventures and claimed on his website to be an experienced trader who had already earned millions of dollars. The scammer promised to pay out 10% of the deposit every 30 business days to participants of the pool. But after losing a significant amount of money, he started falsifying users' statements and balances, and paying out profits at the expense of new investors. At the same time, he bought luxury cars, jewellery and expensive watches for himself.
The fraudster has already offered the regulator a settlement agreement to drop the charges. The CFTC is seeking a monetary fine for Ichioka and an injunction to stop him from trading. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice said it had launched its own investigation into William Ku Ichioki.
US authorities had previously accused the Las Vegas resident of complicity in the CoinDeal cryptocurrency pyramid scheme.