Karl Greenwood, a pivotal figure behind the notorious OneCoin pyramid scheme, was handed a 20-year prison sentence by the Southern District of New York federal court for his involvement in the deceptive project. The announcement was made by the attorney’s office on Tuesday. Additionally, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos directed Greenwood to relinquish $300 million, representing the approximate sum he amassed from the fraudulent venture.
Launched in Bulgaria in 2014, OneCoin presented itself as a genuine cryptocurrency, assuring investors that the token was minable and held intrinsic value. However, in truth, it was conspicuously absent from any blockchain and functioned purely as a pyramid scheme. Investors were incentivized to recruit more participants. It is estimated that OneCoin swindled over $4 billion from a staggering 3.5 million unsuspecting victims.
The attorney’s office outlined Greenwood’s significant role, describing him as OneCoin’s “global master distributor” and as the spearhead of the MLM (multi-level marketing) network, pivotal for marketing and selling the fictitious cryptocurrency. This position secured him a whopping 5% cut from OneCoin’s global monthly sales.
Greenwood’s legal troubles began with his 2018 arrest in Thailand, leading to his extradition to the U.S. where he awaited trial in custody. Last December, he admitted to wire fraud and conspiring to launder money. While Greenwood faces the consequences of his actions, co-founder Ruja Ignatova, often referred to as the “CryptoQueen,” remains elusive. Last year, she earned a spot on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Most Wanted list.
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