Queconomics – In 2016 at the SSE Arena in London, Ruja Ignatova (the Crypto Queen) walked onto the stage in front of hundreds of cheering fans. There was “Girls on Fire” playing in the background.
She was the self-proclaimed Queen of Crypto. Anyone who followed her words of wisdom soon found immense wealth – or so they thought. It turns out that Ruja was a convicted fraudster, and she was allegedly doing it again. But she was going to get billions.
Ruja Ignatova Background
Ruja Ignatova is a woman who was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. But when she was just ten years old, she moved with her family to Germany. She went on in 2005 to the University of Konstanz to earn her Ph.D. in European civil law.
Today, however, she is not recognized as a well-known legal scholar. She is best known as the founder of OneCoin, which is among the biggest alleged scams.
In cryptocurrency history, it was the biggest scam. OneCoin was not the questionable dealing of Ignatova. By this time, she had been found to be a part of a multilevel marketing scheme.
The Crypto Queen had been convicted of fraud. In 2012, she was convicted in Germany because of her fraud related to a firm that was bankrupt after she acquired it.
For the crime, she was sentenced to 14 months. Ruja had also been involved previously in a scheme of multilevel marketing but failed, and it was called Bitcoin. But her joy and pride were the Onecoin.
The Alleged Scheme
In 2014, Ruja and Sebastian Greenwood started Onecoin. Sebastian has spent his few years in prison on several counts associated with defrauding investors and was most recently reported in the deal’s defense talks with Manhattan prosecutors.
The killer for bitcoin was supposed to be cryptocurrency. But in reality, according to the investigators, there was no type of blockchain technology used for the project.
According to the department of justice, from the 4th quarter of 2014 until the 3rd quarter of 2016, OneCoin accounts received approximately $4 billion. By using its schemes to prop up their fake crypto, it was siphoning off wealthy investors.
Investors were encouraged to influence their family and friends into the OnceCoin community. They received commissions for any funds they invested.
The Crypto Queen was marketing her new product, which is a bitcoin killer around the world. She held conferences in many places, such as in Dubai and London, at Lavish Events.
From the start, something was off and sensed by regulators. The FSC or Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission noticed the risks associated with cryptocurrencies in 2015, where the cryptocurrency was just getting started like Onecoin.
In 2016, authorities in Latvia, Croatia, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Norway, and other countries began crackdowns on OneCoin or warning investors in their countries.
However, it was not until 2017. The Crypto Queen was charged by India of defrauding investors and started employing OneCoin employees, and it started to unravel.
The End of the Story
In March 2017, Ignatova stepped down as CEO and continued to run. She was wanted by the FBI. Europol officers, along with Bulgarian prosecutors, raided the OneCoin offices in 2018 in Sofia. The end of the OneCoin story became official.
In early 2019, the US authorities charged Ignatova in absentia for money laundering, security, and wire fraud. In the same year, a lawyer of OneCoin, Mark Scott, was found guilty in federal court.
He laundered $400 million. And after Ruja disappeared, her brother, Konstantin Ignatova, took over the company. He pleaded guilty, including fraud and money laundering, and was arrested in 2019.
After the creation of OneCoin, Ruja and her partners bought real estate worth million dollars. When the party crashed down, most of them lost it all except the Crypto Queen.