$4B Crypto Scammer Added to FBI’s Most Wanted List
CryptoQueen has been on the run for more than five years.
- The FBI is adding OneCoin cofounder Ruja “CryptoQueen” Ignatova to its Ten Most Wanted List.
- Prosecutors believe OneCoin defrauded investors of more than $4 billion.
- Ignatova disappeared in 2017; her whereabouts are still unknown.
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Ruja Ignatova has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for allegedly scamming investors out of $4 billion through OneCoin.
Wanted for $4 Billion Scam
The hunt for CryptoQueen is intensifying.
Today the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) added Ruja Ignatova, better known in the crypto space as “CryptoQueen”, to its Ten Most Wanted List for “allegedly [defrauding] investors of billions.” Charges against Ignatova include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud.
The FBI is offering up to $100,000 in reward for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest. It warns that she may be traveling with armed bodyguards and associates.
Ignatova is the cofounder of OneCoin, a Bulgarian cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme that is believed by prosecutors to have defrauded its victims of over $4 billion. OneCoin would sell educational trading packages to investors for up to six-figure sums; these packages included tokens that could be used to mine OneCoins. OneCoins could only be exchanged for other currencies on the OneCoin exchange, which shut down without notice in January 2017.
Ignatova was the leader of the organization from 2014 to October 2017, at which point her brother Konstantin Ignatov took her place. Ignatov and another OneCoin cofounder, Sebastian Greenwood, were arrested in 2019 and 2018 respectively; Ignatov, who pleaded guilty to charges similar to those against Ignatova, faces up to 90 years in prison.
Ignatova, a Bulgarian citizen, disappeared in October 2017 in Athens, Greece. The FBI believes she could be traveling on a German passport. She was the subject of a BBC podcast series entitled The Missing Cryptoqueen. She was recently added to Europol’s Most Wanted List as well.
Money laundering and wire fraud have been persistent issues within the crypto space. Major crypto exchange Binance was recently accused of letting European crime syndicates, Russian drug dealers, and North Korean hackers process their funds through the platform.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.