NEW YORK — U.S. authorities announced on Friday that a man who is accused of being a co-founder of the fake cryptocurrency OneCoin, which was a pyramid scheme that defrauded investors all over the world out of billions of dollars, pled guilty to counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors stated that the alleged cryptocurrency that was co-founded in 2014 in Bulgaria by Ruja Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood was actually worthless, despite the fact that it was marketed as a “Bitcoin killer.” In spite of the fact that it was touted as a cryptocurrency, it was never mined by computers, and there was no public blockchain that could be verified. They claimed that the operators of OneCoin were the ones who determined its worth, and not supply and demand.
In 2018, Greenwood, who was 45 years old at the time, was detained at his island home in Thailand and then deported to the United States. On Friday, he appeared in federal court in Manhattan and entered a guilty plea.
Since his arrest, Greenwood, who holds citizenship in both Sweden and the United Kingdom, has been held in custody.
According to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Damian Williams, Greenwood helped manage one of the largest international fraud schemes in the history of the world. According to his office, victims put more than $4 billion into the business.
Williams stated in a statement that “Greenwood’s lies were designed with one goal, to get everyday people all over the world to part with their hard-earned money — real money,” and to “line his own pockets to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.” “Greenwood’s lies were designed with one goal, to get everyday people all over the world to part with their hard-earned money,” “real money.”
Ignatova, also known as the Cryptoqueen and considered to be OneCoin’s most senior leader, went missing in October 2017 and has not been seen to this day. She was included on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in June, and there is a reward of one hundred thousand dollars for information that leads to her apprehension.
The success of OneCoin was driven in large part by its use of multilevel marketing, in which participants earned commissions for bringing in new customers who bought cryptocurrency packages.
Ignatova boasted that OneCoin would be “the Bitcoin killer,” but she and Greenwood referred to it in email conversations as “trashy coin.” Greenwood referred to potential investors as “idiots” in one of his emails.
Greenwood entered a guilty plea to three counts: one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. There is a potential maximum punishment of twenty years in jail attached to each count.
On April 5 he will be given his punishment.