“Cryptoqueen” Ruzha Ignatova, accused of fraud with billions, added to the list of the most wanted by the FBI

"Cryptoqueen" Ruzha Ignatova, accused of fraud with billions, added to the list of the most wanted by the FBI
Written by boustamohamed31

Ruzha Ignatova promised that her cryptocurrency OneCoin will become the next one bitcoin. The only problem: it didn’t exist.

The FBI added today Bulgarian-born Ignatova – accused of investing fraud with approximately $ 4.1 billion in a counterfeit cryptocurrency scheme –in his most coveted list. The 41-year-old woman has been on trial since October 2017, just days after her arrest warrant was issued in the United States.

In a press release, the FBI called OneCoin a “mass fraud scheme” and offered up to $ 100,000 for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest.

“There are so many victims around the world who have been financially devastated by this,” said Special Agent Ronald Shimko. “We want to take her to court.

According to federal prosecutors, Ignatova, a German citizen with a doctorate in private international law, founded OneCoin in 2014 and began promoting it around the world as a “bitcoin killer.” It is estimated to have attracted billions of dollars in investment from more than 3 million people in 175 countries. But the coin it sells never existed in a public blockchain – only in the minds of its creators, prosecutors said.

Blaming Ignatova and her business partners in 2019, Manhattan federal prosecutors called OneCoin a “pyramid scheme based on smoke and mirrors, more than zeros and ones.” They claim that Ignatova, her brother and others who worked for the company advertised the cryptocurrency as computer mining and pricing based on market demand. In fact, prosecutors say the creators never mined a single coin and founded the company “with the full intention of using it to defraud investors.”

In an email to her co-founder, prosecutors said, Ignatova described her strategy for leaving OneCoin as such: “Take the money and run and blame someone else for it.”

For a time, Ignatova lived on much of OneCoin’s income, buying a 7,000-square-foot apartment in 2016 in a lavish London borough that was previously owned by British singer Duffy. It filled the apartment with works of art worth £ 500,000, including two original Warhols, according to BBCand hosted a luxury 36th birthday party at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

But Ignatova’s lavish public life came to a halt on October 25, 2017, when she jumped on a flight to Athens, Greece and disappeared. She is wanted by both Interpol and Europol and has been the subject of a BBC podcast The Missing Crypto Queen. German investigators warned earlier this year that she may have changed her appearance with plastic surgery to avoid detection.

While Ignatova remained under the radar, her co-founder, lawyer and brother were arrested and prosecuted in connection with the scheme. Her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, even testified against her as part of a plea deal in 2019. Her lawyer, Mark Scott, was convicted of conspiracy to launder money and bank fraud that same year.

An indictment against Ignatova was printed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2019, charging her with one charge of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, fraud with securities and conspiracy to launder money. .

“Eventually, I’m sure we’ll find her,” Mike Driscoll, the FBI’s assistant director in charge of the New York office, told a news conference on Thursday.

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