The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged William K. Ichioka, of New York, New York, with fraudulently raising $25 million from individual investors primarily in California and Oregon by making false claims about his investing success and promising large anticipated returns but instead using investor funds for gambling and to enrich himself. Ichioka has agreed to resolve the charges against him.
According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, from at least June 2019 to October 2021, Ichioka solicited investments for his unregistered investment fund, Ichioka Ventures, by claiming he was an accomplished investor, promising oversized returns, and guaranteeing investors’ principal. In reality though, as the complaint alleges, Ichioka was unable to pay investors the promised returns and used money from new investors to repay other investors. Also, as alleged in the complaint, Ichioka falsified a bank statement and other documents to create an appearance of success. Finally, according to the complaint, Ichioka also misappropriated millions of investors’ funds for personal use, such as on 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 multimillionaire investor able to generate significant investment returns, but the real story was that Ichioka stole investor funds to enrich himself,” said Monique C. Winkler, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office. “This case highlights the SEC’s commitment to holding bad actors accountable and protecting the integrity of our markets.”
The SEC’s complaint charges Ichioka with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Ichioka has agreed to the entry of a partial final judgment, subject to court approval, imposing requested permanent and conduct-based injunctions as well as an officer and director bar, and reserving issues of disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty for further determination by the court.
In parallel actions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California (USAO) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today also announced charges against Ichioka.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Erin E. Wilk of the Enforcement Division’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit and supervised by Jason H. Lee and Ms. Winkler of the San Francisco Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Ms. Wilk and John Han. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the USAO, CFTC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.