FBI has added a 'crypto queen' to its 10 most wanted fugitives list as she is accused of committing a $4 billion OneCoin fraud. Ruja Ignatova, who run Bulgaria-based OneCoin Ltd, is wanted for running the cryptocurrency scam.
With the help of the Ponzi scheme OneCoin, she defrauded victims out of more than $4 billion.
Ignatova Run A Ponzi Scheme
Ignatova has been missing for five years and in 2017, US authorities launched an investigation and signed an arrest warrant against her.
In 2014, OneCoin, a self-described cryptocurrency, began offering buyers commission if they sold the currency to more people. But FBI agents say OneCoin was worthless and was never safeguarded by the blockchain technology used by other cryptocurrencies, according to BBC.
$100,000 reward For Any Information Leading to Ignatova's Arrest
Officials have underlined that Ignatova runs the Ponzi scheme disguising as a cryptocurrency to receive more money from the investors.
Damian Williams, Manhattan's top federal prosecutor, believes that she timed her fraud scheme appropriately as she capitalized on the frenzied speculation in the initial days of cryptocurrency.
By adding her to the most wanted list, the FBI believes that people will help the organization track her down.
A $100,000 reward has been offered by the FBI for any information leading to Ignatova's arrest. The woman was charged with eight counts in 2019 including wire fraud and securities fraud.
Ignatova Was Last Seen In 2017
Ignatova's last known public appearance was in 2017 when she took a flight from Bulgaria to Greece. Since then, she has been missing.
Reports claimed that Ignatova had learned in 2017 that her American boyfriend was in touch with the FBI over the OneCoin probe.
Ignatova Could Have Undergone Plastic Surgery
Authorities have also suggested that the fraud Ignatova, 42, could have had plastic surgery to save herself from being caught. They also claimed that the fugitive travels with heavily armed guards or her very close associates.
Her company was offering commissions to members to encourage people to buy cryptocurrency.
Last month, Europol also added Ignatova to its most-wanted list and offered a $5,200 reward for any information leading to her arrest.
OneCoin Generated Over $3.78 Billion
Her brother Konstantin had pleaded guilty on the grounds of money laundering and fraud in 2019 after he was arrested in Los Angeles.
Reports claimed that in 2014 Ignatova launched OneCoin, which generated more than $3.78 billion in revenue.
Born on May 30, 1980, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Ignatova spent most of her youth in Schramberg, Germany, before earning a PhD at the University of Constance. She studied international law in 2005 and wrote a dissertation discussing conflict law, according to ABC.