Ruja Ignatova, also known as “Cryptoqueen,” was indicted in 2019 on eight counts including wire fraud and securities fraud for operating Bulgaria-based OneCoin Ltd as a pyramid scheme. Prosecutors say the company provided commissions to members to entice others to buy worthless cryptocurrency.
“She timed her scheme perfectly, taking advantage of the frantic speculation of the early days of crypto,” said Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan.
Williams described OneCoin as “one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history.”
Ignatova disappeared in late 2017 after wiretapping an apartment belonging to her American boyfriend and learning that he was cooperating with the FBI’s investigation into OneCoin, Williams said. He said she took a flight from Bulgaria to Greece and has not been seen since.
Michael Driscoll, assistant director of the FBI in New York, said the FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest.
Driscoll declined to comment on any leads pointing to Ignatova’s whereabouts. The bureau adds fugitives to its wanted list when it believes the public may be able to help track down suspects.
“She left with a huge amount of cash,” Driscoll told reporters. “Money can buy a lot of friends, and I imagine they benefit from that.”
Ignatova has been indicted along with Mark Scott, a former corporate lawyer who prosecutors said laundered about $400 million for OneCoin. Scott was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud after a three-week trial in Manhattan federal court.