Ruja Ignatova, who is accused of defrauding investors out of $4 billion by selling a fake cryptocurrency called OneCoin, as been added to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives list. The FBI has offered to pay $100,000 as reward for information leading to the arrest of the self-styled “CryptoQueen” Ignatova, the founder of the OneCoin crypto project.
Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, announced the addition of Ignatova to the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives list, in New York on Thursday.
Describinig Bulgaria-based OneCoin as one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, prosecutors said the company, which was run as a pyramid scheme, offered commissions for members to entice others to buy a worthless cryptocurrency. "She timed her scheme perfectly, capitalizing on the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency," said Damian Williams.
"Ignatova disappeared in late 2017 after bugging an apartment belonging to her American boyfriend and learning he was cooperating with an FBI probe into OneCoin, Williams said. She boarded a flight from Bulgaria to Greece and has not been seen since, he said.
Ignatova was charged in 2019 with eight counts including wire fraud and securities fraud for allegedly scamming investors. Mark Scott, a former corporate lawyer who prosecutors said laundered around $400 million for OneCoin, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud following a three-week trial in Manhattan federal court.