News - 20 years in prison for OneCoin co-founder

By Sam Fröling

20 years in prison for OneCoin co-founder

Scams, crime and fraud
20 years in prison, for OneCoin co-founder

Karl Sebastian Greenwood co-founder of the crypto scam OneCoin must spend 20 years behind bars, a judge has decided in New York.

Karl Sebastian Greenwood, together with Ruja Ignatova, invented the most famous scam in the crypto sector in 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria: OneCoin. Now he faces 20 years in prison. This was announced in a press release by Damien Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He is the top U.S. representative in federal criminal and civil cases from eight counties in New York State.

"One of the three biggest frauds ever committed"

"As founder and head of OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood led one of the three largest frauds ever committed," Williams said in explaining the verdict, which was delivered by acting U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos. Millions of duped customers worldwide invested more than US$4 billion in the scam, which Greenwood launched along with Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen," Williams informed.

Greenwood and his co-conspirators had "defrauded unsuspecting victims of billions of US dollars by promising a financial revolution and claiming that Onecoin would be the Bitcoin killer." "In fact," Williams said, "Onecoins were completely worthless and investors came up empty-handed, while Greenwood lined his pockets with more than US$300 million." Greenwood, who has Swedish and British citizenship, reportedly used the money for luxuries including a yacht, real estate in Spain, Dubai and Thailand and a private jet for OneCoin, among other things. He was arrested in 2018 at his home on the Thai island of Koh Samui and has been in preventive custody ever since.

Severe punishment buzzes after in financial sector

Williams indicated that the harsh punishment would resonate after in the financial sector and should deter anyone "who might be tempted to lie to investors and exploit the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud."

Meanwhile, there is no trace of its co-founder Ruja Ignatova. The FBI has offered a US$100,000 reward for clues and put her on its list of the world's 10 most wanted criminals. Rumors that she has been dead since 2018 are unconfirmed.

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