The so-called Cryptoqueen, Ruja Ignatova, remains at large.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Friday that “Cryptoqueen” Ruja Ignatova associate and OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood has pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering in connection to the OneCoin scam.
“As a founder and leader of OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood operated one of the largest international fraud schemes ever perpetrated,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “Greenwood and his co-conspirators, including fugitive Ruja Ignatova, conned unsuspecting victims out of billions of dollars, claiming that OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer.’ In fact, OneCoins were entirely worthless.”
Launched in 2014 by Ruja Ignatova and Greenwood, OneCoin was marketed and sold as a mineable cryptocurrency through a global multi-level marketing network. Members received commissions for recruiting others to purchase “cryptocurrency” packages. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin, OneCoin was not mineable because its blockchain did not exist.
Greenwood was arrested in Thailand in July 2018 and extradited to the United States in October 2018. Ignatova was last seen boarding a commercial flight to Athens, Greece, in 2017. In June 2022, Ignatova, who has not been seen since October 2017, was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.
The agency says Greenwood acted as the “global master distributor” and the leader of the multi-level marketing network through which the fraudulent cryptocurrency was marketed and sold. According to the Justice Department, victims invested over $4 billion worldwide into the scam.