- OneCoin is arguably one of the biggest scams in crypto history.
- According to a February 2022 Deadline article, Ruja Ignatova and OneCoin’s saga is being adapted for television.
- Ruja Ignatova was last seen in 2017 while boarding a flight to Greece.
- Greenwood was arrested at his home in Thailand in 2018 and later extradited to the U.S.
The United States Department of Justice announced that Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a co-founder of OneCoin, one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams has pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors said that the alleged cryptocurrency project was false from its launch in 2014. Greenwood and other OneCoin team members created a pyramid scheme to promote it to millions of people and earned up to $4 billion.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement,
As a founder and leader of OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood operated one of the largest international fraud schemes ever perpetrated. 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.
Williams claims that Greenwood endorsed OneCoin with the intention of luring common people globally into parting with their hard-earned cash so he could fill his own pockets to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, Williams referenced emails exchanged between Greenwood and other OneCoin organizers outlining their “exit strategy” from the fraud.
The attorney added that the guilty plea “sends a clear message that we are coming after all those who seek to exploit the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud, no matter how big or sophisticated you are.”
OneCoin was advertised as a mineable cryptocurrency by its founders Ruja Ignatova and Greenwood. Users received commissions for referring friends to buy “cryptocurrency” packages. However, OneCoin’s blockchain was nonexistent, so it could not be mined like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin.
Greenwood was extradited to the US in October 2018 after being detained in Thailand earlier that year. OneCoin co-founder, Ignatova, was last sighted in 2017 getting on a plane bound for Athens, Greece. Her whereabouts have remained a mystery since then. She was listed as one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted in June 2022. The FBI put up a $100,000 reward for information leading to her arrest.