US to Give Out $5M Reward For Info on Fugitive OneCoin Cryptoqueen

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The United States Department has announced a new $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Ruja Ignatova, also known as the “Cryptoqueen.” Ignatova, a key figure behind the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin, has been a fugitive since 2017, and her whereabouts remain unknown.

US Government to Bring Ruja to Justice

She disappeared shortly after a U.S. warrant was issued for her arrest on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. Ignatova’s ability to evade capture has frustrated authorities and left thousands of victims without recourse.

Notably, the $5 million reward announcement underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to bringing Ignatova to justice and dismantling financial crimes that exploit unsuspecting investors. Also, the reward is part of the State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, which targets individuals involved in major international criminal activities.

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Authorities believe Ignatova may have altered her appearance and is using fake identities to avoid detection. They urge anyone with information about her whereabouts to come forward, emphasizing the significant financial incentive and the potential to help bring a high-profile criminal to justice.

OneCoin Scandal

OneCoin, founded by Ruja Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood in 2014, enticed investors with promises of guaranteed returns from a fictitious cryptocurrency. However, investigations later revealed the absence of a functional blockchain, exposing OneCoin as a pyramid scheme reliant on luring in new investors.

Despite being exposed as fraudulent in 2015, OneCoin managed to amass over $4.3 billion in revenue, recording substantial profits between 2014-2016. Ruja, often referred to as the “Cryptoqueen,” remained on the run since her disappearance in 2017, following a federal warrant for her arrest. Speculations have arisen regarding her fate, with some linking her disappearance to the murders of several OneCoin associates in Mexico in 2020.

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Greenwood Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

Recall that in 2022, Greenwood pleaded guilty to federal United States charges including wire fraud and money laundering. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Greenwood confessed that OneCoin was based on a phony digital currency. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Mark Scott was also indicted with the founders of the fraudulent project. He was believed to be one of the OneCoin principal actors. As such, the subagency of the US DoJ, the US Attorney’s Office (USAO) suggested a minimum 17-year sentence for Mark. “His punishment must match the seriousness of his crime,” read the filing. However, Mark was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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