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State Department issues $5m bounty on OneCoin’s ‘Cryptoqueen’

state-department-issues-5m-bounty-on-onecoins-cryptoqueen
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State Department issues $5m bounty on OneCoin’s ‘Cryptoqueen’

U.S. authorities continue searching for OneCoin’s elusive founder, Ruja Ignatova, also known as “Cryptoqueen,” over a $4 billion Ponzi scheme. 

The U.S. State Department has offered up to $5 million as a reward for information contributing to the apprehension or conviction of Ignatova, who disappeared in 2017.

Ruja Ignatova, aka the Cryptoqueen, has been on the run since authorities discovered OneCoin was an international fraud operation. Shortly after the U.S. government disclosed her indictment in 2018, Ignatova disappeared and boarded a flight bound for Athens. 

The new reward is a massive increase from $250,000 previously offered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) around 2022.

The OneCoin Ponzi

Ignatova and several OneCoin accomplices gathered an estimated $4 billion from investors between 2014 and 2017. Investors were promised massive returns on their capital and tokens in exchange for money.

However, the shame project did not actually exist on any blockchain or decentralized network. The State Department described Ignatova’s campaign as one of the largest global fraud schemes in history.

While Ignatova disappeared into the ether, other OneCoin conspirators were arrested and sentenced. Co-founder Karl Greenwood was issued a 20-year jail term for fraud, and two lawyers connected to the project were sentenced to a minimum of four years behind bars. 

The whereabouts of the Cryptoqueen herself remain unknown to this day. After fleeing to Athens, authorities and speculators alike have guessed that Ignatova likely got plastic surgery to change appearances.  In 2018, Bulgarian media reported that Ignatova was butchered on a yacht by local crime lord “Taki”. Both assumptions are unverified, and Ignatova is believed to be on the run.

Ignatova faces charges in Bulgaria, Germany, India, and the U.S. for crimes such as conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering and securities fraud. Bulgarian authorities also decided to convict Ignatova in absentia for her role in the multi-billion crypto Ponzi scheme.