Bitcoin Scheme – Onecoin Ponzi: In late 2019, the remnants of multi-level Ponzi scheme Onecoin crumbled. However, Onecoin’s founder, dubbed the ‘crypto queen,’ Ruja Ignatova, remains on the run and law enforcement haven’t caught up with her yet. Moreover, police are investigating two churches in New Zealand that allegedly have links to the Onecoin operation and founders.
OneCoin – Bitcoin Scheme Onecoin
OneCoin is a Ponzi scheme promoted as a cryptocoin with a private blockchain, by Bulgaria-based offshore companies OneCoin Ltd (registered in Dubai) and OneLife Network Ltd (registered in Belize), both founded by Ruja Ignatova in concert with Sebastian Greenwood. OneCoin is considered a Ponzi scheme due to its organisational structure and because of the previous involvement of many of those central to OneCoin in similar schemes. It was described by The Times as “one of the biggest scams in history.”
US prosecutors have alleged the scheme brought in approximately $4 billion worldwide. In China, law enforcement recovered 1.7 billion yuan (US$267.5 million) while prosecuting 98 people. Ruja Ignatova disappeared in 2017 near the time a secret US warrant was filed for her arrest and was replaced by her brother, Konstantin Ignatov.
Most of the leaders have now disappeared or been arrested. Greenwood was arrested in 2018, as was Ignatov in March 2019. In November 2019 Ignatov pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and fraud. The total maximum sentence for the charges is 90 years in prison.
There was no blockchain behind Onecoin – Bitcoin Scheme Onecoin
In 2014, Ruja Ignatova, Sebastian Greenwood, and Konstantin Ignatov launched a project called Onecoin and allegedly acquired $4 billion from investors unlawfully. Ignatova and her cohorts claimed that Onecoin was a legitimate cryptocurrency and the project followed the coattails of the crypto hype up until mid-2019. Multiple reports had disclosed that there was no blockchain behind Onecoin and the product was merely a multi-level marketing (MLM) Ponzi.
Reports disclose that both the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (SISDAC) and the organization’s sister worship center were used to shill Onecoin packages.
Further, it seems that the Onecoin Ponzi infected the town of Auckland, New Zealand, and the region’s Samoan church. New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is currently investigating the Auckland-based Samoa Worship Centre over connections with the Ponzi. Onecoin leaders allegedly sold high-profile Samoan church community members “tens of thousands of dollars” worth of Onecoin products.
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