Home Crypto News News OneCoin Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Gets 20 Years — But Where is Crypto Queen Ruja Ignatova?

OneCoin Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Gets 20 Years — But Where is Crypto Queen Ruja Ignatova?

Omar Elorfaly
Published September 13, 2023 1:35 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Karl Sebastian Greenwood has been sentenced to 20 years for orchestrating the OneCoin fraud scheme.
  • US Attorney Damian Williams called OneCoin “one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated.”
  • The notorious crypto ponzi scheme pulled in $4B between 2014 and 2016.
  • Greenwood’s co-conspirator, Ruja Ignatova, remains on the run. 

The United States Department of Justice announced  the sentencing of Karl Sebastian Greenwood to 20 years in prison for “his orchestration of the massive OneCoin fraud scheme.”

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled against Greenwood and his co-conspirator, Ruja Ignatova, for selling a fraudulent cryptocurrency called “OneCoin” through a global multi-level-marketing network, then defrauding customers of $4 billion worldwide.

Igantova, although she has been sentenced, remains at large. She has been on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) Top Ten Most Wanted ListFederal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) Top Ten Most Wanted List since June 2022.

OneCoin Dismantled

“As a founder and leader of OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood operated one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated.  Greenwood and his co-conspirators, including fugitive Ruja Ignatova, conned unsuspecting victims out of billions of dollars with promises of a ‘financial revolution’ and claims that OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer,’“ said  U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

“In fact, OneCoins were entirely worthless, and investors were left with nothing, while Greenwood lined his own pockets with over $300 million. We hope this lengthy sentence resonates in the financial sector and deters anyone who may be tempted to lie to investors and exploit the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud.”

Between the years of 2014 and 2016, Greenwood and Ignatova defrauded over 3.5 million customers worldwide of $4 billion. In the process, Greenwood managed to gather $300 million in personal profits. The DOJ details the lavish lifestyle Greenwood used his fraudulent profits to fund:

OneCoin Founders Arrested

“Greenwood was arrested at his residence on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand, in July 2018 and was extradited to the United States to face fraud and money laundering charges in October 2018.  Greenwood has been detained since his arrest in July 2018,” reported  the DOJ

Moreover, Greenwood was ordered to forfeit $300 million, amounting to the same sum he made through the OneCoin scheme.

On the other hand, Ruja Ignatova “was charged with OneCoin-related fraud and money laundering charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and a federal warrant was issued for her arrest.  On October 25, 2017, Ignatova traveled on a commercial flight from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece, and has not been seen publicly since.  Ignatova was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in June 2022.  The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest.”