On Friday (16th December), Karl Greenwood, one of the founders behind centralized cryptocurrency OneCoin, pleaded guilty to federal charges. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, this is one of the largest financial scams of all time.
The controversial cryptocurrency project was fraudulent from its 2014 beginnings, emulating the same structure as a standard pyramid scheme. Greenwood, 45, marketed the coin to millions of people, generating as much as $4 billion in revenue. Allegedly calling his investors “idiots” in internal messages, Greenwood pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money.
“Karl Sebastian Greenwood operated one of the largest international fraud schemes ever perpetrated” said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“Greenwood and his co-conspirators, including fugitive Ruja Ignatova, conned unsuspecting victims out of billions of dollars, claiming that OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer’.”
In May 2022, Europol added Ignatova to their “Europe’s Most Wanted” list, offering a €5,000 reward for information leading to her arrest. On June 30, the Federal Bureau of Investigation added Ignatova to the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to her arrest.