The United States Community Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has accused two US individuals, Sam Ikkurty and Ravishankar Avadhanam, of participating in a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of nearly $40 million. The defendants were also charged with conducting an unlicensed commodities pool, according to the Commission.
According to the formal complaint, the duo duped the victims into investing in three bogus digital asset income vehicles.
Ikkurty and Avadhanam began operations in January 2021 and sought funding from investors via their official website and YouTube channel. According to the CFTC, they offered to assist clients in investing their monies in digital assets to earn profits.
The partners raised $44 million from 170 investors but did not invest it in digital assets as promised. Instead, the defendants used a Ponzi scheme to disperse part of the monies to other investors. According to the accusation, they also pocketed part of the money for themselves and moved several million dollars to their own accounts.
The CFTC is requesting, among other things, that the deceived investors be paid, that the ill-gotten earnings from the scam be recovered from the defendants, and that they be forcefully admonished not to violate any CFTC laws in the future. The suspected fraudsters have been served with a restraining order, and all of their assets have been frozen.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested and prosecuted two men in March for their alleged involvement in a $1.1 million wire fraud and money laundering scheme involving a non-fungible token (NFT) project.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States accused a Latvian citizen in December of allegedly scamming at least $7 million from hundreds of retail investors in the United States and other countries.
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