Feds accuse Portland man of ‘Ponzi-like’ cryptocurrency scheme

Federal regulators have accused a Portland man of masterminding a $44 million cryptocurrency investment scam.

With the help of YouTube videos and a marketing website, Sam Ikkurty of Portland and a partner collected the $44 million from 170 investors in just 17 months. They “misappropriated most or all of the participant funds,” the Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleged Thursday.

Ikkurty and his partner, Ravishankar Avadhanam, of Aurora, Illinois, said they would invest the funds in cryptocurrency and other commodities, according to the federal agency. Instead, they allegedly took some of the money for themselves and used much of the rest to pay off prior investors, a classic “Ponzi-like scheme,” the agency said in the lawsuit.