CFTC Accuses Ohio Man of Running $12M Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme

The regulator filed a cease-and-desist order against Rathnakishore Giri and his companies over allegations of scamming investors interested in digital assets.

AccessTimeIconAug 12, 2022 at 5:28 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:58 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The U.S. Commodities Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) has taken legal action against an Ohio resident it says ran a $12 million Ponzi scheme involving bitcoin, a complaint filed at a district court in the state on Thursday shows.

A Ponzi scheme is a type of investment fraud whereby original investors are paid with funds collected from new investors.

The complaint, filed at the Southern District of Ohio, is a cease-and-desist order against one Rathnakishore Giri and his two companies: SR Private Equity LLC and NBD Eidetic Capital LLC. The CFTC also wants the court to make Giri pay back his wronged investors.

Giri is accused of engineering and perpetuating a scheme designed to dupe investors interested in digital assets, according to CFTC Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson.

"Under the guise that he operated a private equity investment fund with a focus on investing in digital assets, Giri seized upon the contemporary fervor for digital asset investment opportunities and lured unwitting investors to contribute over $12 million in cash and bitcoins to his funds with the promise of exceptional returns without the risk of financial loss," Johnson said in a statement published Friday.

The complaint was filed a day after the CFTC, alongside the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to advance a proposal that seeks to broaden reporting requirements of private funds and large hedge funds to include crypto holdings. The proposed rules are part of a joint effort by the regulators to increase transparency of how private funds in the country operate and what assets they manage.

The CFTC alleges Giri violated commodities laws and regulations that prohibit the manipulation of information and "deceptive devices." Johnson, in her statement, said that Giri used investors' money to fund a lavish lifestyle "characterized by use of private jets, yacht rentals, an extravagant vacation home, a luxury car and expensive clothing."

In addition to ordering Giri to cease all activities related to the fraud, the CFTC wants him to disgorge any monetary benefits "directly or indirectly" attached to the violation of regulations, including and not limited to salaries, commissions, loans, fees, revenues and any trading profits.

In her statement, Johnson said the CFTC "rigorously surveys markets and enforces regulations" but new financial products like digital assets can "create new challenges."

"This case illustrates these dangers, underscores the ever-present threats, and demonstrates that – no matter the asset class – effective enforcement and customer protections must be among our highest priorities," Johnson said.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.