New York man agrees to plead guilty to multiple federal crimes related to “Ichioka Ventures” cryptocurrency fraud scheme


Defendant admits doctoring financial documents, giving false account statements to investors, and diverting investor funds for his personal luxuries

Date: June 22, 2023


Today, the United States announced the filing of an information charging William Koo Ichioka with multiple felonies in connection with "Ichioka Ventures," an alleged investment fraud scheme involving cryptocurrencies and other investment vehicles. According to court documents filed in the case, Ichioka has agreed to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud, aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return, fraud in connection with the purchase and sale of securities, and commodities fraud.

The announcement was made by Acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Colthurst of the Northern District of California United States Attorney's Office; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Darren Lian; and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp.

According to the information filed in federal court, Ichioka, of New York and formerly of San Francisco, operated a scheme in which he fraudulently raised tens of millions of dollars from over 100 persons and entities, including residents of the Northern District of California. Ichioka began doing business under the name "Ichioka Ventures" in or about 2019. Ichioka solicited investors by promising that their funds would be invested in various securities and/or commodities, including cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency arbitrage, futures, and derivatives, and foreign exchange currency transactions. He represented to prospective investors that they would earn 10% returns every 30 business days and that his investment and trading activities had been generating or had the ability to generate returns in excess of these amounts. Ichioka created a website for Ichioka Ventures that allowed investors to create and login to accounts to invest, view balances and investments, and view transaction history.

"The allure of using cryptocurrencies to make massive profits in a short timeframe provides fertile ground for fraudsters to take advantage of unwary victims," said Abraham Simmons, a spokesperson from the Office of the U.S. Attorney. "The information filed in this case alleges Ichioka convinced victims to invest millions of dollars into his phony venture by claiming he was making legitimate profits when, in fact, he was reporting fake results and creating bogus documents."

"Mr. Ichioka operated a decades-old type of fraudulent scheme and defrauded over 100 investors," said Special Agent in Charge Darren Lian of the IRS-CI Oakland Field Office. "The hard work and dedication of our investigators and prosecutors led to Mr. Ichioka's agreement today to plead guilty. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring this investigation to a thorough and complete conclusion. IRS-Criminal Investigation remains dedicated to bringing to justice those who cheat and defraud."

According to court filings describing Ichioka's agreement to plead guilty, Ichioka admitted that he commingled investor money with his own funds and used investor money to make purchases of luxury items, including vehicles, watches, and jewelry, and to fund his own personal expenses, including for rent for his personal residence, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, taxi and car share rides, retail stores, gym membership fees, and online purchases. Moreover, Ichioka admitted that he and Ichioka Ventures did not actually earn 10% returns every 30 business days for his investors throughout the time that he represented that it did. Rather, he and Ichioka Ventures sustained losses from portions of funds that he invested. By the end of 2019 – unbeknownst to investors – Ichioka privately acknowledged that the "[c]ompany hasn't made any money since we started."

Ichioka admitted that he repaid existing investors using new investor funds to further perpetuate the scheme to defraud, according to court filings describing Ichioka's agreement to plead guilty. According to the court filings, Ichioka has agreed that he owes non-family investors in "Ichioka Ventures" at least $21 million as a result of the scheme and additionally owes his family members over $40 million.

Ichioka also admitted that he concealed and hid the scheme by doctoring financial documents to overstate the value of assets (including bank, brokerage, and cryptocurrency exchange materials) and providing doctored documents to prospective investors, according to court filings. He also presented false statements of account to investors via the Ichioka Ventures website, failed to provide tax documentation to investors, and willfully failed to report income to the Internal Revenue Service in this scheme.

In sum, Ichioka has agreed to plead guilty to the following crimes: wire fraud (1 count), aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return (2 counts), fraud in connection with purchase and sale of securities (1 count), and commodities fraud (1 count).

The court may order additional terms of supervised release as well as additional monetary penalties and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.

An information merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ichioka's initial federal court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case but have not yet been contacted by the government should contact the FBI by email at

The case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions Section and Oakland Branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by IRS-CI and the FBI. The U.S. Attorney's Office and the federal law enforcement agencies also thank the San Francisco Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The SEC and CFTC each conducted parallel investigations that were also announced today.