Onecoin Co-Founder Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges in US

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Onecoin Co-Founder Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges in US

Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a co-founder and operator of Onecoin, has pled guilty to his part in building the notorious crypto pyramid. The fake cryptocurrency’s “global master distributor” has been in custody since 2018 when he was arrested in Thailand and extradited to the United States.

Cryptoqueen’s Partner at Onecoin Admits Role in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud

Co-founder of Onecoin Karl Sebastian Greenwood pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to wire fraud and money laundering charges on Friday. As a result of misrepresentations made by him, the Ponzi scheme’s mastermind, ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova, and others, victims from around the world, including the U.S., invested billions of dollars into the fraudulent platform.

Onecoin Co-Founder Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges in US
Onecoin’s co-founders Ruja Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood.

In an announcement, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams pointed out that Greenwood, Ignatova and their co-conspirators ran Onecoin and claimed that a purported cryptocurrency with the same name would be the ‘Bitcoin killer.’ In reality, it was worthless, was never mined or based on blockchain, and its price was not determined by the market but set manually.

Greenwood, a citizen of Sweden and the United Kingdom, and Bulgarian-born German national Ignatova founded Onecoin in 2014. It operated as a global multi-level-marketing (MLM) network, the members of which were paid commissions for recruiting others. According to Onecoin’s promotional materials and records, over 3 million people invested more than $4 billion by the end of 2016.

Greenwood’s Sentencing Scheduled for April Next Year

Ignatova, who disappeared from the public eye in late 2017, is still at large and is wanted by Interpol, Europol, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which offers a $100,000 reward for information leading to her arrest. Her brother, Konstantin, was detained in Los Angeles in 2019, pleaded guilty and sought witness protection.

In August, media reports revealed that a British national accused of money laundering related to the Onecoin scam, Christopher Hamilton, had lost his bid to avoid extradition to the United States and would be handed over to U.S. authorities. In October, three Onecoin associates appeared in a German court to face charges of fraud and other crimes.

Greenwood, who was Onecoin’s “global master distributor,” was credited by Ignatova for the idea of marketing and selling the crypto through an MLM structure. District Judge Edgardo Ramos accepted his guilty plea and the sentencing is scheduled for April 5, 2023. The 45-year-old co-founder of Onecoin faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the counts against him.

Do you expect other members of Onecoin to face charges for their participation in the pyramid scheme? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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