Ruja Ignatova: The Fallen ‘Cryptoqueen’

As the world struggles with the intermittent volatility of formidable Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the notorious “Cryptoqueen,” Ruja Ignatova is still making headlines in the Crypto community. Her former accomplices and partner have so far been sentenced. This goes a long way to demonstrate how governments are protecting their citizens from fraudulent players.  

Having disappeared six years ago, Ignatova remains a fugitive. Late last year, a New York judge sentenced Karl Greenwood to 20 years imprisonment. Ignatova and Karl Greenwood’s fraudulent OneCoin scheme defrauded investors north of $4 billion (£3.2bn) globally. This made it one of the largest financial fraud schemes.

In October 2017, Ignatova, also known as the “Cryptoqueen”, boarded a flight in Sofia, Bulgaria and vanished into thin air, leaving Greenwood and her other business partners to bear the consequences of their failed company. She has been on the run since then. These heinous acts led her to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

Globally, over 3 million people were duped into investing in OneCoin. The duo’s promise of financial revolution and claims that OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer’ is what lured many unknowing investors. However, their dreams of reaping big were far from reality.

OneCoin’s strategy leveraged the success of Bitcoin. She branded herself and her company as the direct competition to Bitcoin. Nevertheless, their deceit was laid bare when OneCoin was exposed as a pyramid scheme that exploited investors worldwide. 

Court documents pointed out that both Ignatova and Greenwood were fully aware their OneCoin was nothing but a Ponzi scheme from the word go. In a shocking twist, the pair referred to OneCoin as a “trashy coin” in private emails and ironically called their investors “idiots” and “crazy”.

OneCoin operated as a multilevel marketing network, promising buyers a fivefold or even tenfold return on their investment. They were overboard with their deceit, not leaving any stone unturned, as Europe and New York weren’t spared. Prosecutors highlighted that Greenwood used the cash influxes from investors to purchase luxury items. Among these were homes in several various countries. He even took trips in a private “OneCoin” jet to multiple countries.

In December 2023, Greenwood pleaded guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. Besides his unceremonious imprisonment, Greenwood was ordered to forfeit about $300 million (£237 million).

This story reminds Crypto investors to always be on the lookout before making any financial decision, as not all that glitters is gold. To date, legit Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to disrupt the financial sector. Always stay updated with the latest Crypto news to understand how Cryptocurrencies continue to shape the business landscape.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.