The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has taken legal action against William Koo Ichioka, filing a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint charges Ichioka with soliciting funds exceeding tens of millions of dollars from over 100 individuals and entities under the pretense of trading digital asset commodities.
However, instead of using customers’ assets as promised, Ichioka misappropriated over $21 million for personal expenses and created an illusion of profits for existing customers using newly entering customers’ funds.
Ichioka lured prospective participants by promising them exceptional returns of 10% every 30 business days based on his trading strategies. To bolster his claims, Ichioka presented himself as a “self-made investor” and a “savant” who had already amassed significant wealth. Marketing materials on his website further emphasized his track record of success in the financial markets.
Contrary to his representations, Ichioka’s trading activities resulted in sustained losses rather than the promised returns. He appears to have commingled participant funds with his own and misappropriated substantial amounts for personal use, including extravagant purchases such as luxury watches, jewelry, and vehicles. To conceal the losses and maintain the facade of profitability, Ichioka falsified financial documents, inflated the assets in pool accounts, and provided false statements of account to participants. At times, he used funds from new participants to pay principal or purported gains to existing participants, following the patterns of a typical Ponzi scheme.