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Economic Fraud

Rs. 42 Crore Reward for Tips on Lady Cybercriminal ‘Cryptoqueen’ – Submit Yours Now!

The United States has announced a USD 5 million (Rs. 41 Crore) reward for information leading to the capture of Ruja Ignatova, the founder of OneCoin and known as the “cryptoqueen.” Ignatova is wanted for her role in orchestrating one of the largest global fraud schemes in history, which caused over $4 billion (Rs. 33,000 Crore) in losses.



Cryptoqueen Ruja Ignatova

Ruja Ignatova, a 44-year-old German citizen of Bulgarian origin, gained notoriety as the founder of OneCoin, a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme. Ignatova, along with her associate Sebastian Karl Greenwood, launched OneCoin in Sofia in 2014, promoting it as a revolutionary cryptocurrency. However, it was later exposed as a Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors worldwide of approximately $4 billion (Rs. 33,000 Crore) between 2014 and 2017.


The OneCoin operation marketed the fake cryptocurrency to millions of investors globally, promising high returns. Unlike legitimate cryptocurrencies, OneCoin had no blockchain or technological foundation backing its value. Investors were misled into believing they were participating in a legitimate investment opportunity, only to realize later that their funds had been siphoned off by the scheme’s operators.

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Ignatova and Greenwood created a private exchange named to trade OneCoins, but this platform was designed to prevent investors from quickly cashing out. Investors were allowed to sell only a small fraction of their holdings daily, and often, their sell orders were not executed, with the website frequently being “under maintenance.”

In October 2017, just weeks after her indictment, Ignatova fled from Sofia to Athens and has been on the run since. Her current whereabouts remain unknown, but there are suspicions that she may have undergone plastic surgery and frequently changes her appearance to avoid capture. She is believed to have bugged her American boyfriend’s flat, suspecting his cooperation with the FBI.

Ignatova was added to the FBI’s list of the 10 most wanted fugitives in 2022 on charges of forgery and money laundering. The US government has termed OneCoin as one of the “biggest fraud schemes” in global history, and both the United States and Germany are actively seeking her arrest.

Sebastian Karl Greenwood was arrested in Thailand in 2018 and extradited to the United States, where he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to repay USD 300 million to the investors. Ignatova’s brother, Konstantin Ignatov, was also implicated in the scheme. He was arrested in March 2019 at Los Angeles International Airport, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, and was sentenced to 34 months in jail, being released in March 2024.


Recent investigations suggest that Ignatova may have been murdered by a top Bulgarian mafia figure known as Taki, although these reports remain unconfirmed.

The US Ambassador to Bulgaria, Kenneth Merten, announced that a reward of up to $5 million is being offered for information leading to Ignatova’s capture. The FBI encourages individuals to provide tips anonymously to assist in the ongoing investigation. Additionally, Bulgarian authorities have announced their intent to prosecute Ignatova in absentia and confiscate her property worth over 10 million euros.

The OneCoin fraud had a devastating impact on investors, many of whom lost significant amounts of money. The scheme’s collapse highlighted the need for greater regulatory oversight and investor education in the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency market.

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