“Cryptoqueen” makes one top-10 list you don’t want to be on: The FBI’s most wanted
Over the last few years,- we’ve seen some crypto legends make it to the kind of top-10 lists most of us dream of. Many of the “most wealthy” lists now include crypto innovators and while, sure, some of the might have lost some of that wealth, it will come back.
Ruja Ignatova, the “cryptoqueen,” meanwhile, has found herself on a list you absolutely do not want to be on: the FBI’s most wanted.
Ignatova – a Bulgarian national – is wanted by the FBI for her role in one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams to date, the OneCoin scam. She is alleged to have used that scheme to defraud victims out of more than US$4 billion.
Apparently recognising that she might be in trouble with the international authorities, Ignatova subsequently went on the run and has been missing since 2017.
OneCoin turned out to be one of the most blatant pyramid scams. It launched in 2014, when awareness about cryptocurrency was far lower, and its big selling point was that buyers earned a commission if they sold the currency on to more people.
That is the dictionary definition of a pyramid or ponzi scam. FBI agents argue that OneCoin was fundamentally worthless and was never safeguarded by the blockchain technology that underpins other cryptocurrencies.
So, what does earning your place on the top 10 most wanted list do? There’s a US$100,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of Ignatova. It’ll be difficult to track her down. The FBI believes that she has high-quality fake identity documents, has likely changed her appearance, and probably has about $500 million in the bank to draw on.
Given that there has been no sighting of Ignatova since she was seen boarding a flight from Bulgaria to Greece in 2017, the FBI is also of the belief that she may no longer be alive.