Crypto pyramid scheme OneCoin’s co-founder Karl Greenwood pleads guilty

Karl Greenwood, co-founder of multi-billion-dollar crypto scam OneCoin, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

Greenwood, who co-founded OneCoin along with the “Crypto Queen” Ruja Ignatova, was charged in connection with his role in the massive fraudulent crypto project. He is facing a 20 years’ imprisonment as a maximum sentence on each of the counts he was charged.

Arrested in Thailand in July 2018 and extradited to the United States, Greenwood confessed to the offenses in Manhattan federal court. According to the DOJ, the sentence will be announced on 5 April 2023.


US Attorney Damian Williams commented:

As a founder and leader of OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood operated one of the largest international fraud schemes ever perpetrated.  Greenwood and his co-conspirators, including fugitive Ruja Ignatova, conned unsuspecting victims out of billions of dollars, claiming that OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer.’  In fact, OneCoins were entirely worthless.  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.

This guilty plea by the co-founder of OneCoin caps a week at Southern District of New York (SDNY) that sends a clear message that we are coming after all those who seek to exploit the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud, no matter how big or sophisticated you are.

OneCoin was founded in 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria by Greenwood and Ruja Ignatova, who currently remains at large. Earlier in May 2022, the “Crypto Queen” as named in the European law enforcement agency’s most wanted list for the role she played in the multi-billion-dollar fraud. She was also added to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Top 10 Most Wanted List earlier in June.

The scheme started as Greenwood and Ignatova marketed and sold crypto assets OneCoin through global multi-level marketing (MLM). According to the DOJ estimates, over three million people invested in fraudulent cryptocurrency operation and victims all over the world lost four billion dollars in total.

Ignatova was last seen in October 2017 when she was charged with fraud and money laundering in the United States. She then traveled from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece on a commercial flight, and has not been seen since.

Her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, who also ran the scam with her, was arrested in Los Angeles in 2019. He pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering.

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