OneCoin Founder Receives 20-Year Sentence and $300M Fine

Former Minnesota Vikings Co-Owner Headed to Jail for Crypto Scam

On September 12, a judge sentenced a key co-founder of OneCoin to 20 years in prison for masterminding a massive cryptocurrency scam that defrauded millions of investors out of over $4 billion worldwide.

Karl Sebastian Greenwood marketed OneCoin as a legitimate Bitcoin alternative. However, the project was worthless from the start. He spearheaded the fraud with an elaborate pyramid scheme that promised riches to recruits.

OneCoin Founder Lived a Life of Luxury at Others’ Expense

According to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Greenwood conceived OneCoin’s global multi-level marketing structure, rewarding members for signing up new victims. As the top distributor, he earned over $200 million in commissions in just two years.

Greenwood first pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges in December 2022.

OneCoin mined no coins, had no blockchain, and arbitrarily invented fake valuations that only rose over time. Yet Greenwood’s slick salesmanship convinced believers they were getting in early on the next Bitcoin (BTC).

Victims were fooled by hype comparing OneCoin to Bitcoin and claims it could overtake the pioneering cryptocurrency. In reality, it had no trading, mining, or verification processes—all red flags of fraud.

Citing OneCoin’s own records, the announcement states that between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter of 2016, OneCoin generated €4.037 billion in sales revenue and earned €2.735 billion in profits.

US Attorney Damian Williams called it “one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated,” bilking over 3.5 million people globally.

Meanwhile, Greenwood lived a life of jaw-dropping luxury on his ill-gotten gains. Specifically, he splurged on designer clothes, expensive watches, properties abroad, and a luxury yacht down payment.

Additionally, the scam paid for first-class travel worldwide on a private OneCoin jet. Investor funds also paid for stays at five-star resorts and rented beach villas in exotic destinations.

Source: BBC News

Co-Founder Ruja Ignatova Is Still at Large

With OneCoin marketed aggressively across the U.S., many victims were American. Overall losses topped $4 billion as others got rich, peddling false promises of easy wealth.

A key accomplice remains on the run—Ruja Ignatova, the scheme’s co-founder and Greenwood’s partner. Nicknamed “Cryptoqueen,” Ignatova disappeared in 2017 after the U.S. indicted her on fraud and money laundering charges.

She acted as the public face of OneCoin, selling the scam globally through flashy marketing events and pumping up hype. Despite promising huge wealth in promotions, Ignatova knew OneCoin was a fraud. The FBI now lists her among their most wanted with a $100,000 reward for information leading to her arrest.

Earlier this year, rumors circulated that the fugitive was killed in Greece five years ago. The New York Post linked Ignatova to a London property she claimed the previous month. According to a new UK law, beneficiary owners of a property must be named in full instead of just the companies holding the property.


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

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