Prosecutors said the supposed cryptocurrency co-founded by Ruja Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood in 2014 in Bulgaria, which was hailed as a “Bitcoin killer,” was really worthless. Although it was promoted as a cryptocurrency, no machines were ever used to mine it, and there was no open, verifiable blockchain. They claimed that OneCoin’s managers determine the price rather than supply and demand.
In 2018, Greenwood, 45, was detained at his island home in Thailand and deported to the US. On Friday, he entered a guilty plea in Manhattan federal court. Greenwood, a Swedish and a British national, has been held since his arrest.
Greenwood allegedly assisted in running one of the biggest ever global fraud schemes, according to US Attorney Damian Williams. According to his office, victims invested more than $4 billion (RM17.70bil).
Williams said in a statement that Greenwood’s falsehoods were intended to stuff his own pockets to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars while convincing regular people throughout the world to part with their hard-earned money.
Ignatova, referred to be OneCoin’s senior leader and known by the moniker “Cryptoqueen,” vanished in October 2017 and is still at large. She was included in the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in June, and a US$100,000 (RM442,450) reward is offered for information that results in her capture.
Multilevel marketing, in which participants earned commissions for bringing in new customers who bought bitcoin bundles, helped OneCoin flourish.
Ignatova bragged that OneCoin will “destroy Bitcoin,” yet in their email exchanges, she and Greenwood called it “trashy currency.” Investors were referred to as fools by Greenwood in one email.
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