Bulgarian National Sentenced to 4 Years for Role in $4 Bln OneCoin Fraud

Irina Dilkinska was sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $111.4 million for her role in laundering $110 million and assisting operations of the $4 billion OneCoin cryptocurrency scam.

Key Insights

  • Irina Dilkinska was sentenced to 4 years in prison for her role in OneCoin crypto pyramid scheme
  • Dilkinska pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies
  • She was ordered to forfeit $111.4 million and received 1 month of supervised release in addition to the prison term

NEW YORK (MarketsXplora) – Irina Dilkinska, a Bulgarian national accused of key roles in the notorious OneCoin crypto pyramid scheme, was sentenced to four years in prison by a U.S. judge on Tuesday for money laundering and wire fraud conspiracies tied to the $4 billion fraud.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan handed down the 48-month sentence against Dilkinska, 42, who had previously pleaded guilty. The judge also ordered her to forfeit $111.4 million and serve one month of supervised release.

Dilkinska, who claimed to be the head of legal and compliance at OneCoin, was charged with assisting the founders in running the Bulgaria-based company’s day-to-day operations and laundering funds, including arranging a $110 million transfer of illicit proceeds to a Cayman Islands entity.

Launched in 2014 by Ruja Ignatova, known as the “Cryptoqueen,” and Karl Sebastian Greenwood, OneCoin touted a purported cryptocurrency by the same name marketed through a global multi-level marketing network.

However, investigators found OneCoin to be a fraudulent pyramid scheme that misled investors about the viability and value of its tokens. OneCoin records showed it generated over €4 billion ($4.4 billion) in sales and “profits” of €2.7 billion through the end of 2016 alone.

Rather than ensuring OneCoin followed laws and regulations, prosecutors said Dilkinska facilitated the fraud by helping operate the scheme and launder funds on a daily basis.

OneCoin’s promotional materials claimed over 3 million people invested in its cryptocurrency packages. Authorities are still seeking to find and arrest Ignatova, who disappeared in 2017 shortly after being indicted.

The sentencing marks another development in efforts by U.S. and international authorities to crack down on crypto investment frauds and pyramid schemes that lure victims through misinformation and multi-level marketing tactics.

Mark Scott, a former partner at a prominent U.S. law firm, was also convicted last year for his role in laundering $400 million in OneCoin proceeds through fraudulent investment fund structures.

OneCoin is considered one of the biggest crypto pyramids uncovered, resulting in losses potentially exceeding those from the infamous Bitconnect and Wotoken schemes earlier this decade.

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