Bulgaria will file charges against a fugitive behind one of the largest crypto fraud schemes

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria plans to file charges in absentia against Ruja Ignatova for one of the largest crypto fraud schemes in history and will take steps to seize her assets it said were illegally acquired, the chief prosecutor said Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Kenneth Merten, speaking at the same news conference, announced a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest and supporting Bulgarian authorities in apprehending her.

Ignatova’s whereabouts have been unknown since October 2017, when she traveled from Sofia to Athens after being charged in a New York court and a federal warrant issued for her arrest. She was added to the FBI’s most wanted list in June 2022.

Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014 and tricked people into investing in the cryptocurrency trading company, which turned out to be a scam. The participants recruited others to purchase OneCoin cryptocurrency packages.

In the first two years, the cryptocurrency-based Ponzi scheme is estimated to have pulled in more than $4 billion from at least 3.5 million victims, authorities said.

Last September, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a citizen of Sweden and the United Kingdom who co-founded OneCoin with Ignatova, was sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison for his role in the scheme.

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