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Woman charged with running $13M Ponzi scheme in Stockton, defrauding Tongan community

Court documents say 61-year-old Tilila Siola'a Walker Sumchai claimed to use a 'secret algorithm' to lure investors for defrauding.

STOCKTON, Calif. — A 61-year-old Richmond resident is facing more than 30 counts after law enforcement officials say she ran a $13 million Ponzi scheme out of her Stockton office.

According to U.S. Attorney's officials, Tilila Siola'a Walker Sumchai defrauded investors within the country as well as in Australia and New Zealand — winning them over by convincing them she used a 'secret algorithm' allowing her to get money quick.

Sumchai also told investors if they gave her $30,000, then they would receive a home in Lodi worth about half-a-million dollars.

Instead of investing the money, officials say Sumchai used it for her own personal expenses as well as paying back earlier investors as part of the alleged criminal scheme.

More than 1,000 investors and $13 million later, the 61-year-old is facing charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and the sale of unregistered securities.

She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

If you believe you are a victim of the Tongi Tupe investment program, click here.

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