The US authorities have added a Bulgarian-German woman to the “wanted” list. Ruja Ignatova is wanted for defrauding investors totaling $4 billion (€3.8 billion) by selling fake OneCoin cryptocurrency.
Ignatova, also known as ‘Cryptoqueen’, was indicted in 2019 on eight counts, including transaction fraud and securities fraud for operating Bulgaria-based OneCoin Ltd as a pyramid scheme. According to prosecutors, the company offered commissions to members who could encourage others to buy worthless cryptocurrency.
“Her plan was perfectly timed,” said Damian Williams, a Manhattan attorney general. “It benefited from wild speculation in the early days of cryptocurrency. According to Williams, OneCoin is “one of the biggest pyramid schemes of all time.”
Ignatova disappeared from radar in late 2017 after she installed bugging devices in her American boyfriend’s apartment and discovered that he was cooperating with the FBI’s investigation into OneCoin. She boarded a flight from Bulgaria to Greece and has been missing since.
The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest. The woman has been placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, which the agency hopes the public will be able to help investigate.
“You left with a huge amount of cash,” said Michael Driscoll, deputy director of the FBI in New York. “Money can buy you a lot of friends, and I can imagine her taking advantage of that.”
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