Richmond woman charged in international, million-dollar Ponzi scheme

A Richmond woman has been indicted and charged with several crimes of fraud after she allegedly defrauded investors in the U.S. and Oceania, officials said Tuesday. 

Tilila Siola'a Walker Sumchai is accused of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme against several Tongon investors in New Zealand and Australia from January 2021 to October 2021, telling them she had a "secret algorithm" that would earn them thousands of dollars within weeks or months. 

Walker Sumchai allegedly took investors' money to gamble and other personal expenses. She also allegedly used investors' money to pay back and "lull" other investors. 

She was officially charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, and the sale of unregistered securities.

Walker Sumchai called her investment program the "Tongi Tupe" and "promised" investors if they gave her $30,000, they would receive a home in Lodi worth $480,000, according to federal officials. 

Officials said over $13 million was invested by over 1,000 people.

The FBI is searching for possibly more victims of Walker Sumchai. Anyone who believes they could be a victim or have additional information is asked to gill this form.