Ultimate Resource of The Onecoin Scam (#GotBitcoin)
Crypto-Twitter has reacted with horror to the news that the United States Federal Reserve has been given a mandate to print as much new money as it needs to in order to avert a deeper financial crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ultimate Resource of The Onecoin Scam (#GotBitcoin)
Crypto CEO Compares US Dollar To Onecoin Scam As Fed Keeps Printing
Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Cardano developer, IOHK, even tweeted on March 23 that he was, “getting a real OneCoin vibe,” from the U.S. Dollar.
Congress Tells Fed To Just Print More Money
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Neel Kashkari referred to there being “an infinite amount of cash at the federal reserve” in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes. After being pressed on his comment, he clarified:
“That’s literally what Congress has told us to do. That’s the authority that they’ve given us: to print money and provide liquidity into the financial system.”
The idea of the Federal Reserve being given the go-ahead to print an infinite amount of new money, sparked Hoskinson’s comparison to OneCoin.
As Cointelegraph reported, the OneCoin scam made at least $4 billion from unsuspecting investors, unaware that the token they were buying into had no underlying value.
Pomp And CZ Slightly Less Blunt
Other industry figures were quick to weigh in with their own, perhaps slightly more measured, takes on the matter.
Morgan Creek Digital co-founder, Anthony Pompliano, tweeted about the U.S. Dollar’s now-unlimited supply, saying:
“History tells us that this is not sustainable long-term for a currency.”
Meanwhile, Binance CEO, CZ, Gave The Fed An Economics 101 In His Tweet, Posing The Following Teaser:
“Ever heard about ‘supply, demand and price’? What happens to price when you have infinite supply?”
Bitcoin (BTC) price reacted to the news by blasting back up through the $6,000 level and onwards up to $6,500 at time of publication.
Feds Fight Motion to Dismiss Case Against One Coin Crypto Scam Lawyer
The United States government has stood by its evidence presented against alleged OneCoin money launderer and former attorney Mark Scott.
In a memorandum filed on March 24, the government responded to Scott’s appeal that the prosecution provided insufficient evidence that the funds he handled were derived from illicit activities during November’s proceedings — where a jury handed the defendant a guilty verdict.
The former attorney was found to have personally profited $50 million for laundering $400 million in OneCoin’s profits. Scott filed his motion to dismiss the case with the court last month.
U.S. Government Rejects Scott’s Appeal
The government asserts, “It was entirely reasonable for the jury to conclude that the defendant knew that he was dealing with the proceeds of an unlawful activity.”
“Legitimate investment funds whose transactions involve proceeds from lawful activities do not forge documents and create false records on a routine basis,” the memo asserts.
The prosecution’s evidence included testimony from 17 witnesses including victims of the OneCoin scam, employees from U.S. banks allegedly deceived by Scott, government agents, and Konstantin Ignatov — a leading figure from the OneCoin scheme.
Scott said the witnesses’ testimony was based on “innuendo and hearsay” and “was insufficient to support a conviction” on either charge, requesting that the court enter a judgment of acquittal on both counts.
OneCoin Operator Disappeared In 2017
Scott was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering after being arrested in 2018.
The indictment alleges that from September 2015 until 2018 Scott conspired to launder $400 million in proceeds for the OneCoin scheme after being introduced to its chief operator Ruja Ignatova — who disappeared in 2017.
The scheme involved defrauding financial institutions located in numerous jurisdictions worldwide, with Scott setting up numerous accounts to move OneCoin’s proceeds under the guise of various investment funds.
US Court Postpones Sentencing For OneCoin Crypto Scam Co-Founder
Sentencing for the co-founder of the major crypto scam OneCoin has been postponed for a further three months at the request of the United States government.
On April 7, the New York Southern District Court approved a motion to adjourn the sentencing control date for Konstantin Ignatov, brother and accomplice of OneCoin co-founder and current fugitive Ruja Ignatova, a.k.a the “Cryptoqueen.”
Originally set for April 8, Ignatov’s sentencing date will now take place on July 8, 2020.
Ignatov’s Cooperation As A Witness
As reported, OneCoin is among the industry’s most infamous exit scams. Founded in 2014, the Bulgaria-based firm remained fully operational until late November 2019, despite ongoing criminal proceedings in the wake of allegations that it had fraudulently raised at least 4 billion euro ($4.4 billion) in a Ponzi scheme.
Following his arrest at Los Angeles International Airport in March 2019, Ignatov pled guilty to participating in the multi-billion dollar fraud in fall 2019. He faces up to 90 years in jail.
With his sister still on the run, he has served as a cooperating witness in the trial against Mark Scott, the lawyer who allegedly helped launder nearly $400 million via the scam.
In its April 6 letter, the U.S. government claimed that Ignatov’s cooperation was “not yet complete.” As well as requesting adjournment, the government sought to unseal a series of documents and noted that the defense had consented to its application.
As reported, Ignatov has previously testified that after his sister had fled, the security personnel who accompanied her told him that she had met with Russian speakers. One investigative journalist has since alleged that Ignatova claims to have the support and protection of an unnamed “rich and powerful” Russian individual.
In November 2019, Mark Scott was found guilty of helping Ignatova to launder the ill-gotten OneCoin funds via a wide network of fake companies, offshore bank accounts and sham investment schemes.
Judge Threatens To Nix OneCoin Suit After Plaintiffs Miss Multiple Deadlines
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni has scheduled an April 16 hearing for the representation of the plaintiffs’ in a class action suit against the $4 billion crypto Ponzi scheme, OneCoin, to justify why the case should continue.
The date was set on April 10 after the plaintiffs missed multiple deadlines to file consecutive monthly status reports.
Lead Plaintiff Missed Two Consecutive Reporting Deadlines
Law firms Levi & Korinsky LLP and Silver Miller will have to justify why a $4 billion class-action suit against OneCoin should continue after its lead plaintiff, Donald Berdeaux, again failed to meet the court’s deadline for the submission of monthly reports.
“Lead plaintiff is sternly warned that failing to comply with the court’s orders going forward could result in sanctions,” Judge Caproni wrote in response to the lead plaintiff missing reporting deadlines for both March and April.
“It is hereby ordered that Lead Plaintiff must show cause no later than April 16, 2020, why this case should not be dismissed with failure to prosecute,” the Judge asserted.
Berdeaux originally filed the complaint against OneCoin in May 2019.
Plaintiffs’ Representation Must Justify Continued Proceedings
Amid difficulties in serving the case’s defendants, the court decided in August 2019 to continue the case on the provision that monthly letter updates regarding attempts to serve be provided by Berdeaux.
After growing to comprise one of the widest-reaching scams in the history of cryptocurrency, OneCoin’s operator ‘Cryptoqueen’, Ruja Ignatova, fled her home in Bulgaria.
In December, the judge allowed OneCoin to be served at its Dubai office and Ignatova via her last-known email address.
In February, the lead plaintiff’s representation informed the court that OneCoin and Ignatova had been served, and that two other defendants would be dropped from the case. No correspondence has been made with the court since.
Sentencing Of Ignatova’s Brother Postponed Until July
On April 7, the court postponed the sentencing of Ignatova’s brother, Konstantin Ignatov, until July 8, 2020.
Since his arrest at the Los Angeles International Airport in March 2019, Ignatov has cooperated with law enforcement — pleading guilty during October 2019.
Ignatov will face up to 90 years in prison.
Key OneCoin Figure Returns With New USDT-Powered Ponzi Scheme
Top OneCoin figure Le Quoc-Hung has returned with a vengeance — using OneCoin’s channels to promote a virtually identical Ponzi scheme called OneLink.
Le Quoc-Hung, a key figure in the notorious OneCoin Ponzi scheme, has launched a new crypto Ponzi scheme — OneLink
Since joining the scam in 2014, Quoc-Hung, also known as Simon Le, allegedly recruited thousands of investors into OneCoin from his home country of Vietnam — before becoming a significant player and recruitment ‘captain’.
Accordinging to media outlet, BehindMLM, Le positioned himself and the captain of OneCoin’s OneLife network after the scheme’s co-founder, Konstantin Ignatov, was arrested and the subsequent hiding of Ignatov’s sister, Ruja Ignatova.
Le then used OneLife as a platform to prompt his new scam, in addition to continuing to solicit investment into the OneCoin scam. Le is believed to be hiding in either Dubai or Vietnam.
Key OneCoin Recruiter Launches New Investment Scam
OneLink comprises a classic Ponzi scheme, offering no products for affiliates to sell beyond membership in the scheme itself.
Members invest into OneLink using the stablecoin Tether (USDT) in exchange for OLX points — with investment packages ranging from $100 to $5,000 on top of a $40 membership fee. Affiliate marketers are promised 10% of the funds invested into the scheme by recruits, with residual commissions from downstream referrals also flaunted to attract marketers.
Affiliates are ranked according to volume of investment they can generate from victims, with Rolex watches listed among the bonuses offered to entice prolific marketers.
Several leading figures from the OneCoin scam are currently involved in legal proceedings. Co-founder, Karl Greenwood, faces a pre-trial conference in June, and OneCoin lawyer, Mark Scott, faces charges for alleged money laundering, and an ongoing class-action lawsuit.
Crypto Ponzi Schemes Continue To Proliferate
Numerous crypto Ponzi schemes have shuttered over the years, with their principal actors going into hiding.
Some of these include Bitconnect, OneCoin, and PlusToken. Despite the prevalence of these scams, new schemes continue to emerge and achieve alarming levels of success.
AntiMatter Kingdom, a Chinese cloud mining scheme that began operating on April 1, has absorbed roughly 1,607 Bitcoin (BTC) in less than four weeks.
Judge Rules Lawsuit Targeting Multi-Billion OneCoin Ponzi Can Proceed
The judge presiding over a class-action lawsuit targeting the executives behind the OneCoin Ponzi scheme has allowed the case to proceed. Judge Rules Lawsuit Targeting Multi-Billion OneCoin Ponzi Can Proceed (#GotBitcoin?)
Judge Valerie Caproni lifted the stay on a class-action lawsuit brought against the notorious crypto Ponzi scheme OneCoin 12 months ago.
An order signed by the New York District judge mandates that all parties must submit a proposed schedule for the defendants to respond to the complaint before May 9. The court order reads:
No later than May 8, 2020, the parties must jointly submit a proposed schedule for Defendants to answer, move to dismiss, or otherwise respond to the Amended Complaint.
According to documents filed April 27, defendants David Pike and Mark Scott objected to the stay being lifted, requesting its continuation “pending a final resolution of the criminal cases currently pending against each of them.”
Pike is facing charges of bank fraud, while Scott allegedly laundered $400 million on behalf of the fugitive OneCoin co-founder, Ruja Ignatova.
Onecoin Case To Proceed After Reporting Failures From Plaintiff
The stay followed consecutive failures on the part of the lead plaintiff, Donald Berdeaux, to adhere to monthly reporting deadlines set by the court.
The reports concerned efforts to serve OneCoin’s executives. In February, the lead plaintiff’s representation informed the court that OneCoin and Ignatova had been served via Ignatova’s last-known email address and that two other defendants would be dropped from the case.
No further correspondence was made with the court until Judge Caproni threatened to nix the case on April 12.
On April 21, the plaintiffs’ representation, Levi & Korsinsky LLP, requested that the stay be lifted — asserting that the plaintiffs “are prepared to proceed with the litigation expeditiously.”
OneCoin Scheme Exhumed By Top Figure
During April, reports surfaced that Vietnam’s top OneCoin recruiter, Le Quoc-Hung (also known as Simon Le) has launched a near-identical fraud called OneLink.
Le positioned himself as the leading figure on the OneLink platform after OneCoin’s founders were either arrested or went into hiding. Since then, Le has used the platform to promote his new scheme.
Le is believed to be hiding in Dubai or Vietnam.
OneCoin Marketing Scam Operator Fined $72,000 In Singapore
A Singapore man was fined $72,000 for operating a multi-level marketing scheme linked to the Ponzi scheme OneCoin.
On Wednesday, a 52-year old man named Fok Fook Seng of Singapore was found guilty of operating a multi-level marketing scam linked to the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme OneCoin.
Since its inception, the OneCoin crypto scam has defrauded investors of more than $4.4 billion.
According to local news outlet Channel News Asia, Fok was convicted for promoting the MLM scheme between January 2016 and June 2017 and was fined 100,000 Singapore dollars (~$72,000).
The police first pressed charges against him in April 2019 under the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling Prohibition Act, which they said was the first of its kind.
Promoting And Selling The Scheme At Large-Scale Events
Fok successfully managed to promote his MLM scheme through online seminars he conducted on his Facebook page OneLife One World Team Singapore. The police said that Fok also promoted his scheme at large-scale events to get more buyers.
The MLM scheme sold packages of online education courses that came along with free “promotional tokens.” The scammers convinced the buyers that they could use the free tokens to mine more OneCoin.
The scheme had a referral program that would allow participants to receive commissions if more people bought the package through their referral. They were also to receive commissions if their referred participants would bring in more people.
After one year of rigorously refering the scheme through his main account, Fok and his team were able to sign up 1,180 members across Singapore and other countries, the police said in their statement.
The court proceedings are still ongoing for Fok’s partner who was charged with the same offense.
Two OneCoin Promoters Found Dead In Mexico
Two promoters of $4 billion crypto exit scam OneCoin have been found dead in Mexico.
Two promoters of a major cryptocurrency exit scam, OneCoin, have been found dead in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Oscar Brito Ibarra and Ignacio Ibarra, two major OneCoin promoters, were apparently kidnapped and killed in Mexico, Cointelegraph en Español reported on Tuesday. According to the report, the two men were promoting OneCoin as a payment method for a local car firm, the Latin American Automotive Marketing Company.
The terrifying news was first reported by major Latin American publication, La Tercera, on Saturday. According to the report, the bodies of Brito and Ibarra were found stuffed into suitcases and dumped in a vacant lot.
According to examinations, the two men were apparently killed by suffocation.
OneCoin Founder’s Brother Agrees To Testify Against Sister In Settlement
The OneCoin case now seems to turn the sibling founders against each other.
Konstantin Ignatov, the brother of OneCoin’s fugitive founder Ruja Ignatova and a major figure behind the $4 billion Ponzi scheme, agreed to testify against his sister as part of a settlement that saw Ignatov dismissed from civil litigation targeting the scam.
Newly reported details regarding the settlement’s terms reveal that Ignatov has agreed both to cooperate with the class of OneCoin investors bringing the suit forward and to testify against his sister on their behalf should the suit go to trial.
Ignatov is also a defendant and cooperating witness in a parallel criminal case, with his testimony helping secure the conviction of lawyer and alleged OneCoin money launderer Mark Scott in November 2019.
Ignatov pled guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in October, and is facing up to 90 years imprisonment in the criminal case. Ignatov’s sentencing is currently scheduled for Nov. 11.
In November, Ignatov told New York prosecutors that Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ owner Amer Abdulaziz Salman was a key “money-cleaner” working under the guidance of Mark Scott’s co-conspirator and Ignatova’s former lover Gilbert Armena.
Reports indicate that the Phoenix Thoroughbreds racing firm was banned from French competition for its alleged ties to OneCoin over the last week, with the company also withdrawing from British events.
Abdulaziz and Phoenix Thoroughbreds have rejected the alleged association with the Ponzi scheme.
Last month, the bodies of two-former OneCoin promoters were found in Mexico.
OneCoin Took In Billions. Then Its Leader Vanished.
Federal prosecutors allege Ruja Ignatova, known as the Cryptoqueen, sold the promise of riches—but was really running a pyramid scheme.
The splintering of one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency frauds began with an act of jealousy.
Ruja Ignatova, whose OneCoin raked in billions, suspected her boyfriend of stringing her along in late 2017, her brother later testified in federal court. So, he said, she had an associate rent an apartment beneath the boyfriend’s Florida digs and drill through the floor to eavesdrop.
What she discovered was another kind of betrayal: that he was cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Weeks later Ms. Ignatova, known among her fans as the Cryptoqueen, disappeared. Federal prosecutors in New York have charged her with fraud.
The story of OneCoin stands out even among the outlandish capers of the cryptocurrency era. The Justice Department said OneCoin accounts show it took in some $4 billion from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2016, sucking in investors from Africa to the U.S., Venezuela to China.
At its heart is a family drama, revealed in court testimony and documents, interviews with cryptocurrency experts, and a review of publicly available information, videos and advertising.
Today, Ms. Ignatova is nowhere to be found. Her OneCoin co-founder, Sebastian Greenwood, is in a U.S. jail awaiting trial on fraud charges, and Mark Scott, a lawyer who worked for OneCoin, has been convicted in federal court of laundering $400 million.
Her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, who became OneCoin’s public face after she vanished, is in U.S. custody after striking a deal to plead guilty to fraud and other charges. He’s awaiting sentencing this fall. A lawyer for Mr. Ignatov didn’t respond to requests for comment. Ms. Ignatova couldn’t be located. A lawyer for Mr. Scott said he had challenged his conviction and intended to appeal.
A lawyer for Mr. Greenwood, Bruce Barket, said: “The government’s assertion that OneCoin is a fraudulent scheme doesn’t make it so. It is just as likely that any harm to investors has been caused by the government’s accusations and not the structure of OneCoin.”
OneCoin’s original website has shut down and its leaders couldn’t be reached for comment, but some sellers continue to market coins. At a promotional event Saturday in Bucharest called “The Legend of The One,” the presenter introduced a woman he described as the matriarch of the OneCoin family: Veska Ignatova, the siblings’ mother.
In a video posted online, Veska Ignatova, who couldn’t be reached for comment, gave a four-minute speech in Bulgarian. She didn’t mention her children, but apologized for “inconveniences” caused by top sellers leaving the company.
They, Veska Ignatova said, “were blinded by greed and were pursuing their own selfish ends.”
Ruja Ignatova, a 40-year-old Bulgarian, started OneCoin in 2014 with Mr. Greenwood. Unlike more established cryptocurrencies, OneCoin wasn’t actively traded. The coins couldn’t be used to buy anything.
Their price was determined solely by Ms. Ignatova, who promised big financial rewards. Federal prosecutors would later allege that OneCoin was less of a cryptocurrency and more of a pyramid scheme, where money from new purchasers would flow up to Ms. Ignatova and others who sold the currency in the early days.
Ms. Ignatova’s charisma drove sales. She has a law degree and once worked for McKinsey & Co., and she burnished her image by buying an advertorial cover of the Bulgarian edition of Forbes magazine and speaking at an Economist conference in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, that OneCoin sponsored.
She appeared at marketing events around the world, developing a cultish following among backers who called her Dr. Ruja and flashed a OneCoin hand signal. She took in more than $500 million, her brother said in his testimony, buying mansions, a yacht and luxury cars including an armored Lexus.
At the same time, Mr. Ignatov was living in a village in southwest Germany, where he and his sister had grown up. He drove a forklift at an automobile company and volunteered at dog shelters.
In 2016, he said, Ms. Ignatova hired him as a personal assistant to take care of tasks like booking flights and carrying her shopping bags. He said in court testimony he took the chance to spend more time with his elder sister, whom he said he idolized, even though he had been living “a quiet small life that I was OK with.”
Ms. Ignatova initially paid him €3,000 ($3,547) a month, he said, €200 more than he earned in Germany. Once, she bought him clothes from expensive brands. Later, she gave him a house.
Legal proceedings laid out the scale of the riches: OneCoin made so much money that Ms. Ignatova and the other top sellers hardly knew where to put it. They stacked it in cash in offices and apartments in Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Dubai and South Korea. They plowed it into stables in Abu Dhabi for thoroughbred racehorses.
They lent at least $30 million to a company to buy an oil field in Madagascar, a transaction that introduced Ms. Ignatova to Neil Bush, George W. Bush’s brother, who was a business associate of the Chinese tycoon who owned the field. Mr. Bush wasn’t involved in any deal, his lawyer told a court last year. The lawyer didn’t respond to a request for comment.
With big money came big problems. At least twice, OneCoin leaders pilfered tens of millions from the stashes, according to Mr. Ignatov. Law-enforcement agencies launched investigations, regulators blacklisted OneCoin and banks closed accounts linked to it, the authorities said.
y 2017, Ms. Ignatova began to make contingency plans, visiting Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia to procure a passport, her brother said.
At the same time, her personal life was on the rocks, her brother recalled. She was planning to elope with a married man named Gilbert Armenta. But she grew suspicious that he was stringing her along. In fact, Mr. Armenta was cooperating with federal authorities, an FBI agent later said in court. Mr. Armenta pleaded guilty to wire-fraud, money-laundering and extortion conspiracy charges related to OneCoin and is awaiting sentencing.
Shortly after discovering that Mr. Armenta was an FBI informant, Ms. Ignatova bolted. She flew to Athens with only her purse and one of her security guards, Mr. Ignatov said the guard told him. Mr. Ignatov said he hasn’t heard from her since.
Her disappearance sparked panic. “Everybody thought that she is either dead or that she got arrested,” said Mr. Ignatov.
OneCoin leaders hired a private investigator to find her but failed, Mr. Ignatov said. So he became the face of OneCoin, telling enthusiasts that he was in touch with his sister. A fan of mixed martial arts whose body is covered in tattoos, he presented the business without his sister’s verve.
Anxious investors soon came knocking. Mr. Ignatov said he was kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to the suburbs of Bulgaria’s capital where he was beaten and his finger broken. “I was told if Ruja disappeared with the money, that these people would come back and kill me,” he said. Months later, he said, he received a call from a man identifying himself as a high-ranking member of the Hell’s Angels summoning him to a meeting in Zurich, where he said in court testimony that a gun was stuffed in his mouth and his life threatened.
But his Instagram account and videos posted on YouTube depict a jet-setting lifestyle. One photo shows him on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. In another, he is in Paraguay on the stairs of an airplane emblazoned with the OneCoin logo.
When he flew to San Francisco in February 2019, law-enforcement agents questioned him about his intentions in the U.S. and confiscated his cellphone but let him in, he testified. Mr. Ignatov said he tossed his laptop in a trash can on the Las Vegas Strip because he was afraid its contents could be used as evidence against him. An Instagram post on March 4 shows him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame posing in a Hawaiian shirt with a cream boa constrictor.
Two days later, Mr. Ignatov was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. His sister hasn’t surfaced. In an email cited by the Justice Department, she had earlier discussed with her co-founder what she would do if OneCoin fell apart. “Take the money and run and blame someone else for this,” she wrote.
FinCEN Files: BNY Mellon Processed $137M for Entities Linked To OneCoin
One of America’s oldest banks wired over a hundred million dollars in funds linked to the crypto Ponzi scheme OneCoin, according to a trove of documents leaked from the U.S.’ financial crimes watchdog.
In February 2017, the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) flagged a number of transactions with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) it deemed suspicious as they appeared to be “layered” – a money-laundering technique that hides the source of funds through sending multiple transactions.
Worth a combined $137 million, the bank said these transactions came from entities linked to OneCoin – a crypto scheme the U.S. government accused of being a Ponzi. It’s estimated OneCoin raised a total of $4 billion from investors, making it one of the most successful schemes of its kind ever.
Buzzfeed received thousands of leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) from 2011 and 2017 that show instances when a bank’s compliance team flagged a transaction they consider out of the ordinary and possibly suspect with FinCEN.
Dubbed the “FinCEN files,” the trove of 2,657 documents gives an indication of how much dirty money may be passing through some of the world’s biggest banks. As SARs are just the concerns of compliance officers, they are not necessarily evidence of wrongdoing by themselves.
The files show Deutsche Bank flagged a total of $1.3 trillion, JPMorgan approximately $500 billion and Bank of America another $384 billion. BNY Mellon underlined a total of $64 billion in 325 separate SARs filed with FinCEN, making it the second-most-frequent filer in the leaked documents.
Buzzfeed shared the FinCEN files with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which showed one particular transaction in 2016 where Fenero Equity Investments, a British Virgin Islands-based company, wired approximately $30 million from its account at DMS Bank & Trust, a Cayman-based bank, to BNY Mellon.
Fenero described the payment as a “loan for CryptoReal” – an investment trust set up by OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova, who has not been seen since late 2017.
In a SAR filed at the time, BNY Mellon’s compliance team said Fenero often received wires from shell entities linked to OneCoin. It sent the money on to Hong Kong’s DBS Bank, where it was credited to a local company called Barta Holdings.
Emails seized by U.S. authorities last year shows Mark Scott, the New York attorney convicted last year of laundering $400 million for OneCoin, arranged the $30 million loan from Fenero to allegedly purchase an oilfield from Barta Holdings.
But the seized emails show that the loan was never repaid and that $10 million of the amount sent to Barta Holdings was actually spent by one of the OneCoin co-founders.
“I believe that the €30 million purported “loan” from Fenero to Barta was arranged by Scott to launder OneCoin Ltd. proceeds to CC-2 [OneCoin’s co-founder],” said testimony from special agent Kurt Hafer, attached to the New York Attorney’s office.
A BNY Mellon spokesperson told ICIJ that the bank fully complied with existing financial regulation and took its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system seriously. By law, they said the bank was unable to comment on specific SARs.
Likewise, DMS Bank said it took its legal responsibilities for helping to combat fraud and money laundering “extremely seriously.”
OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, and DBS Bank didn’t respond to ICIJ’s requests from comment.
Lawyer For OneCoin Scammer Ruja “Cryptoqueen” Ignatova Disbarred
Mark S. Scott, who pocketed upwards of $50 million in fees for laundering OneCoin money, disbarred.
In a move on Friday that may help bring some peace to jilted investors, a five-judge panel from New York formally disbarred Mark S. Scott, the former Locke Lord LLP lawyer and attorney for the notorious scammer Ruja “Cryptoqueen” Ignatova, following his November 2019 conviction on charges related to the multi billion-dollar OneCoin scam.
Scott, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, fought the disbarment, arguing that he has a post-trial motion pending which requests either an acquittal or a new trial.
Judges from the Third Judicial Panel rejected these arguments, stating in their opinion that, “Should respondent’s post-trial motion or potential future appeal be successful, ‘he may move to vacate the sanction imposed by this court.'”
Co-founded by Ignatova in the mid 2010s, the OneCoin pyramid scheme/multilevel marketing ploy offered commissions for recruiting new investors in what promised to be a major cryptocurrency, but investments were often instead routed directly into Ignatova’s pockets. Ignatova remains at large.
For his part, Scott was convicted of helping to launder nearly $400 million for Ignatova, of which he pocketed upwards of $50 million in fees. According to prosecutors, Scott boasted of earning “50 by 50,” referring to his wealth and age, and he used the money to purchase cars, a boat, and multiple beachside homes.
As Cointelegraph has previously reported, the OneCoin saga and its characters are set to become the topic of a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet, as well as a BBC television show.
Scott, who is free from prison due to medical concerns, is currently awaiting sentencing scheduled for December 2020. He faces up to 50 years in prison.
OneCoin Marketing Guru In Plea Talks
The “public face of OneCoin” is in plea talks for a range of charges.
According to court reports from Friday, yet another suspected player behind the OneCoin ponzi scheme is now set to face justice.
On Friday, counsel for marketing guru Karl Sebastian Greenwood and US prosecutors informed Manhattan Judge Edgardo Ramos that the two sides are currently discussing a plea deal for Greenwood, who was indicted in 2018 for charges relating to his involvement in the OneCoin Ponzi scheme.
Greenwood — who is currently facing five charges including money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy — was described in previous civil litigation as the “public face of OneCoin.” Greenwood was responsible for pitching OneCoin and soliciting new investments in the project, which eventually defrauded billions from investors worldwide.
The indictment alleges that Greenwood “made false statements and misrepresentations soliciting individuals throughout the world […] resulting in the receipt of over $1 billion of investor funds”. The marketer operated out of Sweden during his time with OneCoin, and was arrested in Thailand in 2018.
Greenwood is in jail in Manhattan as he awaits his trial or a possible deal. The mastermind behind OneCoin, Ruja “Cryptoqueen” Ignatova, remains at large.
The OneCoin case and its aftermath has proven to be one of the messiest in crypto’s history, and a movie based on the events is set to enter production with star Kate Winslett, along with a separate BBC series in the works.
Additionally, despite the ongoing litigation Greenwood should consider himself lucky: Ignatova’s personal lawyer Mark S. Scott was disbarred in November following his conviction for money laundering, and two other marketers involved with promoting OneCoin were found dead after a reported kidnapping in July.
Seychelles Police Asked To Probe Transfer Of 230K Bitcoin Linked To OneCoin Scam
Police have received documents requesting an investigation into multiple transactions, which included cash and property worth more than $10 billion.
Law enforcers in Seychelles have been asked to investigate the transfer of 230,000 bitcoin linked to the alleged OneCoin Ponzi scheme.
* The country’s Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) confirmed receiving documents requesting an investigation into multiple transactions, which included cash and property worth over $10 billion, Seychelles News Agency reported Monday.
* Tania Potter, head of legal affairs for the FCIU, said that the unit had “received quite a number of documents, as part of the complaint, some of which need to undergo a verification process to identify any links to the Seychelles and upon completion, a decision on the next step will be taken.”
* The lawyer lodging the complaint, Jonathan Levy, said that the “the misuse of the Seychelles jurisdiction and involvement of public officials to commit the crypto crime of the century calls into question the use of the Seychelles by other crypto ventures.”
* “If Seychelles lacks the ability to regulate crypto asset transactions worth billions, then there are serious anti-money laundering issues raised about cryptocurrency companies that choose to base their operations there,” he said.
* The alleged OneCoin Ponzi scheme is said to have defrauded around $4 billion from millions of investors.
* Investors were told OneCoin could be mined and had actual value, though it did not in fact exist on a blockchain and its perceived value was manipulated by automatic generation of new coins.
FBI Offers $100,000 Reward For Help Finding Onecoin ‘Cryptoqueen’
Bulgarian Ruja Ignatova allegedly defrauded investors out of $4bn with fake cryptocurrency scam.
A woman known as the “Cryptoqueen” who is accused of defrauding investors out of $4bn (£3.3bn) by selling a fake cryptocurrency has been placed on the FBI’s list of its 10 most-wanted fugitives.
The story of Ruja Ignatovacame to prominence in 2019 via the BBC’s The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast, which detailed her alleged role in a crypto scam called OneCoin.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Bulgarian-born Ignatova, who disappeared in 2017.
The FBI added that Ignatova, a German citizen, was believed to travel with armed guards and may have had cosmetic surgery to alter her appearance.
The 42-year-old was charged in 2019 with eight offences including wire fraud and securities fraud for running the Bulgaria-based OneCoin Ltd as a pyramid scheme.
Prosecutors say the company offered commissions for members to entice others to buy a worthless cryptocurrency. Investor losses were more than $4bn.
“She timed her scheme perfectly, capitalising on the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency,” said Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan.
Williams described OneCoin as “one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history”.
Ignatova disappeared in late 2017 after bugging a flat belonging to her American boyfriend and learning he was cooperating with an FBI investigation into OneCoin, Williams said. She boarded a flight from Bulgaria to Greece and has not been seen since, he said.
Michael Driscoll, the FBI’s assistant director-in-charge in New York, declined to comment on any leads as to where Ignatova may be.
The bureau adds fugitives to its most-wanted list when it believes the public may be able to assist with tracking them down.
“She left with a tremendous amount of cash,” Driscoll told reporters. “Money can buy a lot of friends, and I would imagine she’s taking advantage of that.”
Ignatova was charged alongside Mark Scott, a former corporate lawyer whom prosecutors said laundered about $400m for OneCoin. Scott was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud after a three-week trial in Manhattan federal court.
The Missing CryptoQueen Has Friends In (Very) High Places (#GotBitcoin)
With evidence of complicity at the very highest levels of government, the BBC’s years-long investigation into the OneCoin pyramid scheme returns.
OneCoin, which fraudulently branded itself as a cryptocurrency, appears to have received significant support from high-ranking government leaders in both the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria.
Evidence suggests that included leaking details of an international police search to the fugitives who launched the scam.
Even among cryptocurrency veterans and scam watchers OneCoin is in some ways oddly forgotten. The crypto-inflected Ponzi scheme was launched way back in 2014 and was largely brought down by mid-2017.
Founder Ruja Ignatova disappeared on Oct. 25, 2017, and has not been seen since. That means OneCoin had largely faded from the public eye before late 2017’s frenzy of crypto speculation.
But OneCoin was in some bleak sense a pioneer, proving that promises of crypto riches were effective bait for naïve victims. Even though OneCoin never built an actual cryptocurrency, it managed to con people worldwide out of an estimated $4 billion.
OneCoin was also the first big crypto scam to go global using multi-level marketing tactics – or more accurately, as a fraudulent pyramid scheme.
That makes OneCoin a precursor to the much better-known pyramid scheme BitConnect. BitConnect mimicked much of OneCoin’s approach but has a more prominent place in crypto lore because, frankly, the memes were better.
But Jamie Bartlett and an investigative team at the U.K.’s BBC have been paying very close attention to OneCoin. Starting in 2019, Bartlett and Co. released a podcast, “The Missing CryptoQueen,” chronicling their attempts to track down Ignatova.
The series ran for just over a year, producing nine episodes of fascinating but ultimately inconclusive digging.
“The Missing CryptoQueen” uncovered strong evidence that OneCoin was more than just a massive pyramid scheme.
Most strikingly, Bartlett and his team found many hints that Ignatova was tied to shadowy figures capable of real violence – quite possibly Eastern European organized crime.
The show seems to have nudged global law enforcement to take the case more seriously, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) adding Ignatova to its Most Wanted list in late June 2022. Bartlett even published a book earlier this year, seeming to put a cap on his team’s efforts – but Ignatova still hasn’t been found.
Then, after a more than two-year hiatus, Bartlett and company returned in late September with shocking new evidence.
OneCoin wasn’t simply a mob scheme – it appears the scammers had government backing, from not one but two different governments.
First, Bartlett’s team received secret documents indicating that Ignatova worked with Sheikh Faisal bin Sultan Al Qassimi, a royal in the United Arab Emirates, to release funds that had been frozen over suspicion of money laundering.
Ignatova also appears to have bought a $20 million villa in the UAE, which may be where she has been hiding out for half a decade now.
But the most shocking new discovery by Bartlett and his team is evidence that elements within the Bulgarian government were actively helping the OneCoin scammers stay one step ahead of international police.
These new revelations highlight a frightening consequence of the rise of huge global financial frauds in the digital age: Their ability to bring in huge amounts of money can easily attract the involvement of very powerful and dangerous figures, including both mobsters and corrupt government officials.
In fact, Bitconnect may have taken this page from the OneCoin book, too: Though it got little play at the time in the West, Indian legislators accused the ruling BJP of complicity in that fraud.
Two new episodes of “The Missing CryptoQueen” are available now, and Bartlett and his team are promising at least one more coming soon.