U.S. Escalates Hunt for OneCoin Founder Ruja Ignatova with $5 Million Bounty

U.S. authorities offer $5 million reward for OneCoin's Ruja Ignatova, warning she may have altered her appearance to evade capture.

Key Insights

  • U.S. Department of State increases reward to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova, who has been missing since 2017.
  • Ignatova, known as the “Crypto Queen,” is wanted for her role in the OneCoin scheme, which allegedly defrauded investors of over $4 billion.

WASHINGTON (MarketsXplora) – The U.S. Department of State has significantly increased its reward offer to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Ruja Ignatova, the elusive founder of OneCoin, who has been dubbed the “Crypto Queen” and has not been seen since 2017.

This substantial increase from the previous $100,000 reward comes as part of intensified efforts to locate Ignatova, who was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in June 2022. The State Department warned that Ignatova may have altered her appearance through plastic surgery and could be traveling with bodyguards.

“This reward shows the gravity of Ignatova’s alleged crimes and our commitment to bringing her to justice,” a State Department official told MarketsXplora on condition of anonymity.

Ignatova, along with Karl Sebastian Greenwood, founded OneCoin in 2014. The venture has since been labeled by the State Department as “one of the largest global fraud schemes in history,” allegedly defrauding investors of more than $4 billion.

Greenwood, arrested in Thailand in 2018 and subsequently extradited to the U.S., was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $300 million earlier this year on charges of fraud and money laundering.

Ignatova faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, filed in 2017. According to the State Department, she fled to Greece two weeks after being charged to evade arrest.

“OneCoin’s marketing strategy exploited the growing interest in cryptocurrencies,” said a former federal prosecutor familiar with the case. “They used a global multi-level marketing network and drew false comparisons to Bitcoin to lure investors.”

The increased reward is authorized under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, established in 2013 to combat international crime. This program allows the Secretary of State to offer rewards of up to $25 million for information leading to the arrest of major transnational criminals.

As the search for Ignatova continues, authorities urge the public to remain vigilant and report any information that could lead to her apprehension.

Samson Ononeme

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