Read here for the latest updates on the Co-Founder Of The Billion Dollar Bitcoin Pyramid Scheme. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams announced today that KARL SEBASTIAN GREENWOOD, who co-founded OneCoin with RUJA IGNATOVA, a/k/a “the Cryptoqueen,” pled guilty in federal court in Manhattan to wire fraud and money laundering charges related to his role in the massive OneCoin fraud scheme. In 2014, a company called OneCoin, with headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria, began promoting and selling a fake cryptocurrency also called OneCoin via a worldwide multi-level-marketing (“MLM”) network.
Over four billion dollars were lost by individuals around the world who put their trust in false claims made by GREENWOOD, IGNATOVA, and others regarding OneCoin. A guilty plea by GREENWOOD was accepted by District Judge Edgardo Ramos today. As of this writing in June 2022, IGNATOVA is still at large despite being on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List.
Supposedly, as stated in the Superseding Information and other court documents and statements:
OneCoin a firm situated in Sofia, Bulgaria, was created by GREENWOOD and IGNATOVA in 2014. The company promoted a fake cryptocurrency going by the same name. The members of the multi-level marketing network OneCoin earned commissions for bringing in new customers who bought bitcoin packages. The MLM structure facilitated the quick expansion of the OneCoin community. Over three million consumers apparently fell for OneCoin’s scam and bought into their phony bitcoin packages, as advertised on the company’s website.
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In only the four years between the third and fourth quarters of 2014 and 2016, OneCoin made €4.037 billion in sales revenue and €2.735 billion in “profits,” according to the company’s financial documents.
OneCoin leader IGNATOVA disappeared in October 2017
GREENWOOD was the “global master distributor” for OneCoin and he ran the MLM operation that promoted and sold the scam cryptocurrency. In an online video, IGNATOVA falsely claimed that GREENWOOD came up with the concept of using a multi-level marketing (MLM) structure to promote and sell OneCoin. Since GREENWOOD was OneCoin’s top MLM distributor, he made almost €20 million every month.
It’s clear that GREENWOOD and IGNATOVA’s primary motivation for creating the OneCoin company was to steal money from its backers. To give just one example, in the summer of 2014, while GREENWOOD and IGNATOVA were working on the idea for OneCoin, they referred to the cryptocurrency in email exchanges as a “trashy coin.” Regarding the OneCoin business strategy, IGNATOVA emailed the following to GREENWOOD on June 11, 2014:
I am especially good in these very borderline cases [sic], where things become grey; and with you as the magic sales machine and me as someone who really can work with numbers, legal, and back you up in a good and professional way, we could really make it big—like MLM meets bitch of wall street.
IGNATOVA detailed her ideas for an “exit strategy” for OneCoin in an email to GREENWOOD on August 9, 2014. Take the money and go, IGNATOVA advised, then “blame someone else for this.” And on September 11, 2016, GREENWOOD said, “These ppl are idiots” in reference to OneCoin investors, prompting IGNATOVA’s brother Konstantin Ignatov to remark, “as you warned me, the network would not operate with educated people ;)”.
Investors from all around the world contributed money to bank accounts held by OneCoin after being duped by false claims made by GREENWOOD, IGNATOVA, and others affiliated with the company. To mislead investors, OneCoin said the cryptocurrency’s value was determined by supply and demand in the market, whereas in reality the cryptocurrency’s price was determined solely by OneCoin.
On June 9, 2014, for instance, IGNATOVA wrote an email to a representative of a blockchain development business, cc’ing GREENWOOD, in which she said, “we are constructing our own cryptocurrency – and would like to set up an internal exchange service for them.” We’d like to have both manual and automatic price-setting options, as well as regulate trading volume. We can manipulate the exchange by mimicking some volatility and intraday pricing,” IGNATOVA wrote to GREENWOOD on March 21, 2015.
The original emphasis is mine. IGNATOVA also added the following goal in an email she sent to GREENWOOD on August 1, 2015: “6. Trading coin, stable exchange, always close on a high price end of day open day with a high price develop confidence – better manipulation so they are satisfied.” Over time, the supposed worth of a single OneCoin increased from €0.50 to almost €29.95. It is claimed that the value of OneCoins has never gone down.
Additionally, GREENWOOD and other OneCoin founders have stated that the OneCoin cryptocurrency is “mined” on mining servers that are owned and administered by the firm itself. Actually, no computer has ever “mined” a OneCoin. For instance, GREENWOOD suggested in an email to IGNATOVA dated August 11, 2014, “Get people to assume that they are mining their OneCoin via crunching exchanging tokens for OneCoin. People won’t go completely bonkers trying to sell tokens all the time if they believe this story.
After receiving IGNATOVA’s email, GREENWOOD replied to her the next day, saying, “The concept of converting tokens into OneCoin is a key aspect for authenticity and truth behind the OneCoin.”
Coin “mining” is a Frequent Practice and a story we can sell to our Members
Read here about the Co-Founder Of The Billion Dollar Bitcoin Pyramid Scheme. The next email exchange between the two began when IGNATOVA wrote to GREENWOOD, “We are not mining actually – but giving people shit,” to which GREENWOOD replied, “how can this be examined and found out?” Additionally, “Can any member (trying to be clever) find out that we actually are not investing in machinery to mine rather it is only a piece of software doing this for us?”
GREENWOOD and other top OneCoin officials also said the company had a secret “blockchain,” or digital ledger, that tracked individual coins and their associated transactions. However, OneCoin lacks a genuine blockchain, which would have made transactions between users transparent and auditable. Coins that did not exist in OneCoin’s ostensibly private blockchain were being distributed to OneCoin members by IGNATOVA and GREENWOOD in March 2015.
OneCoin was promoted by GREENWOOD and IGNATOVA, including at official OneCoin events held in different cities across the world. The “Coin Rush” concert took place in London’s Wembley Arena on June 11, 2016. Coin Rush was a huge success, with thousands of OneCoin users in attendance. GREENWOOD proclaimed, “This is the creator, the mastermind, the founder of cryptocurrency, of OneCoin…” when he introduced IGNATOVA to the audience. This will be the biggest on-stage welcome we’ve ever had.
Then with fireworks exploding all around her and Alicia Keys‘ “Girl on Fire” playing in the background, IGNATOVA walked out onto the Wembley Arena stage in a crimson evening gown. She went on to make many, glowing comparisons between her fake cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, saying things like “OneCoin… is meant to be the Bitcoin killer” and “In two years, nobody will speak about Bitcoin anymore.”
IGNATOVA announced the launch of OneCoin in the U.S. market on July 4, 2015, the national holiday honoring the independence of the United States. Early in July 2015, GREENWOOD emailed IGNATOVA, “I thought this could go out tonight, the problem is I don’t have the access to send it out to the members,” and attached a document announcing a July 4, 2015, online webinar hosted by IGNATOVA and others to officially open the United States market for OneCoin.
After then, on July 4, 2015, IGNATOVA announced the launch of OneCoin in the United States at a webinar that was broadcast live and later shared on YouTube.com. During the webinar, IGNATOVA remarked, “If we want to go and catch Bitcoin, we never can accomplish this without being strong in the U.S. and without being part of the community.” I guess that’s why I’m so psyched about the American market. This is an honorific endeavor. The market is massive. And, uh, I think it’s a place of invention, a place of Wall Street, a place we have to be if we want to be big. Residents of the Southern District of New York were among the many victims in the United States who put money into bogus OneCoin cryptocurrency shipments.
Following his arrest in July 2018 at his home on the Thai island of Koh Samui, GREENWOOD was extradited to the United States in October 2018 to face fraud and money laundering accusations in his home country. GREENWOOD was arrested back in July of 2018, and he has been in custody ever since.
OneCoin-related fraud and money laundering charges were filed against IGNATOVA on October 12, 2017, and a federal warrant was issued for her arrest. After leaving the public eye on October 25, 2017, IGNATOVA boarded a commercial flight from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece. In June 2022, IGNATOVA was included among the FBI’s top ten most wanted criminals. The FBI has announced a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the capture of IGNATOVA.
Greenwood a Swedish-British citizen pled guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering
Congress has set maximum possible punishments and we provide them here for reference; nonetheless, a judge will ultimately decide the defendant’s sentence. The court date before Judge Ramos for the impending sentencing is April 5, 2023.
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Mr. Williams applauded the efforts of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Agents who worked together on the investigation. Mr. Williams also expressed gratitude to the Royal Thai Police for their help in apprehending GREENWOOD.
Anybody who knows anything about IGNATOVA’s whereabouts is urged to report it to the FBI or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. Suspicious activity can be reported to the FBI anonymously through their website, tips.fbi.gov.
The Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit is handling the prosecution of this case. The prosecution team consists of New York County District Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. DiMasi, Nicholas Folly, Juliana N. Murray and Kevin Mead, as well as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Julieta V. Lozano.
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