king county

Bellevue real estate firm ran a Ponzi scheme, say bankruptcy filings

A Bellevue-based real estate investment firm that allegedly failed to repay hundreds of investors operated a Ponzi scheme, the third-party company now overseeing the firm contends in recent bankruptcy filings. 

Founded in 2011, investment firm iCap raised money promising to invest in Seattle-area real estate projects. But after the firm allegedly extended timelines for repaying investors and stopped paying monthly interest payments, some investors sued iCap last year in King County Superior Court. ICap filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September and the restructuring company Paladin took over.

In bankruptcy court filings late last week, Paladin and attorneys representing iCap investors together asked the court to agree that iCap ran a Ponzi scheme. 

The conclusion “is based on overwhelming evidence,” Chief Restructuring Officer Lance Miller said in a statement to The Seattle Times. “Court recognition of this conclusion will materially expedite and support our ongoing efforts toward a favorable outcome.”

Chris Christensen, who founded the company and stepped down as CEO in September, disputed the description of his business as a Ponzi scheme.

“Mr. Christensen strongly disputes the allegation that iCap operated as a Ponzi scheme,” Christensen’s attorneys said in a statement to The Seattle Times. “Mr. Christensen will

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