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Breaking News from Three Government Agencies: Oregonians Among Those Bilked in Investment Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission and two other federal agencies have charged a New York man, William Ichioka, with fraudulently raising $25 million from investors in Oregon and California. The complaint makes a familiar allegation about people charged with investment fraud: that the accused misrepresented his investment knowledge and the legitimacy of the investments he was selling, and that he spent the proceeds on himself, for “luxury watches, cars, gambling, and a penthouse apartment.”


“As we allege in our complaint, Ichioka lured investors by falsely stating that he was a self-made millionaire investor able to generate significant investment returns,” said Monique C. Winkler, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Office. “But the real story was that Ichioka stole investor funds to enrich himself.”


Winkler said the complaint highlights “the SEC’s commitment to holding bad actors accountable and protecting the integrity of our markets.”


According to the compliant, Ichioka, who is 30, offered his investors a return of 10% every 30 business days.


“While Defendant claimed that he was “self-made,” he used investor money to create the appearance of success from his investing activity,” the complaint reads. “Investors were impressed with his appearance of success and noted his luxury cars, fancy watches, and penthouse apartment.”


Indeed, internet posts celebrated Ichioka as a rising millennial venture capitalist.


The SEC is asking the United States District Court in the Northern District of California for several actions against Ichioka, including that he surrenders “all ill-gotten gains or unjust enrichment derived from the activities set forth in this Complaint…” The SEC typically attempts to recover assets bought by the proceeds of scams, to sell and help investor victims recover some of their losses.


Also charging Ichioka in a June 22nd complaint is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, seeking full restitution for the defrauded investment pool participants.


Meanwhile the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California, today filed a criminal case against Ichioka and reports that he’s agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud, aiding in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return, fraud in connection with the purchase and sale of security, and commodities fraud. According to both government agencies, Ichioka admitted to a friend in 2019 that his company had not made any money since it was founded, but he continued to bring investors in, and in Ponzi-scheme like fashion, used new investor funds to further perpetuate the fraud.


Ichioka admitted he owes non-family investors at least $21 million, and additionally owes his own family $40 million.


There’s a big difference between a luxury penthouse and the big house. If sentenced to the maximum penalty on all five counts to which he’s agreed to plead guilty, Ichioka could face as many as 80 years behind bars. But the court could also opt for additional terms of supervised release as well as additional monetary penalties and restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


People who believe they were victims of this case, but have not yet been contacted by the feds, are invited to email IVinvestors@fbi.gov.

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