OneCoin cryptocurrency scam co-founder Karl Greenwood has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to repay $300 million. The scam, linked to the notorious “crypto queen” Ruja Ignatova, defrauded millions of victims around the world, causing a total loss of $4 billion.
Greenwood, 46, a British and Swedish citizen, co-founded OneCoin in 2014 with Ignatova. He was arrested in Thailand in 2018 and faced fraud and money laundering charges, and was eventually extradited to the United States. Ignatova has been on the run since 2017 and faces similar charges. In June 2022, she was included on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
A global pyramid scheme designed to capitalize on Bitcoin’s success, OneCoin capitalized on Bitcoin’s popularity to convince investors that OneCoin was “the next ‘can’t miss’ investment opportunity,” according to officials.
Greenwood, OneCoin’s right-hand man
Greenwood was the main organizer of a Ponzi scheme involving more than 3.5 million people who purchased cryptocurrency packages and earned commissions by recruiting others, even though the OneCoin tokens they invested in were worthless. Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said investors ultimately lost everything.
The OneCoin team promotes its product by likening it to Bitcoin, but according to the U.S. Department of Justice, they do not have a publicly verifiable legal blockchain system. They lack a mining operation and the number of coins on their private blockchain is not as high as they claim.
Bitcoin almost touching the $26K handle today. Chart: TradingView.com
Greenwood amassed more than $300 million through the scheme, which he then spent on various expenses, such as spending $10,000 on a luxury five-star resort in Brazil and $21,000 on a luxury villa in Thailand. He also purchased designer clothes and watches, a yacht, invested in real estate in several countries and purchased a private “OneCoin” jet, according to prosecutors.
“We hope this lengthy sentence will resonate with the financial community and deter anyone who may seek to lie to investors and take advantage of the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud.”
In 2014, a woman named Ruja Ignatova launched a fake cryptocurrency called “OneCoin.” Although the currency never existed, Rugia convinced people around the world to invest. In 2017, after making $4 billion in profits, she boarded a plane to Greece and was never seen again. pic.twitter.com/DoJCfmy0Uj
– Informative and interesting (@geniusbrain_in) March 15, 2023
On plastic surgery and armed bodyguards
Ignatova was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, marking her as the 11th woman to be so honored. The list has included more than 500 fugitives since its inception and is an important index of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. There was no further inclusion of women.
As stated on the FBI’s Most Wanted website, the FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to her arrest. Her FBI profile shows she allegedly traveled with armed guards and may have had plastic surgery or other changes to her appearance.
Featured image OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastian, Source: Bitcoin Buzz