Karl Greenwood, co-founder of the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to repay $300 million. This scam, associated with the notorious “Cryptoqueen” Ruja Ignatova, defrauded millions of victims worldwide, resulting in a total loss of $4 billion.
The 46-year old Greenwood, a citizen of the UK and Sweden, co-founded OneCoin with Ignatova in 2014. He was arrested in Thailand in 2018 and faced charges of fraud and money laundering, leading to his extradition to the US. Ignatova is a fugitive since 2017 and faces similar charges. She was added to the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List in June 2022.
As a global pyramid scam that aimed to capitalize on Bitcoin’s success, OneCoin, according to officials, used the popularity of Bitcoin to convince investors that OneCoin was “the next ‘can’t miss’ investment opportunity.”
Greenwood, OneCoin Right-Hand Man
Greenwood was the primary organizer of a Ponzi scheme involving over 3.5 million people who bought cryptocurrency packages and earned commissions for recruiting others, even though the OneCoin tokens they invested in were worthless. Investors ultimately lost everything, according to Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The OneCoin team promoted its product by likening it to Bitcoin, but according to the US Justice Department, they did not possess a legitimate blockchain system that was publicly verifiable. They lacked mining operations and didn’t have as many coins on their private blockchain as they claimed to have sold.
Bitcoin almost touching the $26K handle today. Chart: TradingView.com
Greenwood amassed over more than $300 million through the scheme, which he subsequently utilized for various expenditures, such as a $10,000 stay at a luxurious five-star resort in Brazil, and a $21,000 stay at an opulent villa in Thailand. He also bought designer clothing and watches, a yacht, invested in real estate across multiple countries, and acquired a private “OneCoin” aircraft, according to prosecutors.
“We hope this lengthy sentence resonates in the financial sector and deters anyone who may be tempted to lie to investors and exploit the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud.”
In 2014, a woman named Ruja Ignatova launched a fake cryptocurrency named “OneCoin”. Despite the currency never existing, Ruja convinced people all over the world to invest. In 2017, after raking in $4 billion profit, she boarded a plane to Greece and hasn’t been seen since. pic.twitter.com/DoJCfmy0Uj
— Informative & Interesting (@geniusbrain_in) March 15, 2023
On Plastic Surgeries & Armed Bodyguards
Ignatova’s inclusion on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List marks her as the 11th woman to have achieved this distinction. The list, which has encompassed over 500 fugitives since its establishment, serves as a notable index of those sought by the FBI. There has been no further inclusion of women.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information that helps in her arrest, as stated on the bureau’s Most Wanted website. Her FBI profile notes that she is suspected of traveling with armed guards and may have undergone plastic surgery or other changes to her appearance.
Featured image OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastian, Source: Bitcoin Buzz