The Co-Founder of OneCoin was Sentenced to 20 Years and Fined $300 Million

The Co-Founder of OneCoin was Sentenced to 20 Years and Fined $300 Million

In a recent development that sends shockwaves through the cryptocurrency community, OneCoin’s co-founder, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, has been handed a 20-year prison sentence. This decision comes in the wake of accusations that he swindled 3.5 million investors, channeling the ill-gotten gains towards lavish personal expenses such as luxury resorts, a private jet, and a yacht.

Greenwood, aged 46, was handed this sentence on Tuesday, with an accompanying fine of a whopping $300 million, as stated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Earlier, Greenwood had admitted his guilt regarding charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

The inception of OneCoin dates back to 2014, when Greenwood partnered with Ruja Ignatova, often referred to as the ‘Crypto Queen. While Greenwood’s arrest was executed in Thailand back in 2018, leading to his extradition to the U.S. on charges of fraud and money laundering, Ignatova remains elusive. Her last known whereabouts were in 2017, when she boarded a flight to Greece. As a testament to her notorious activities, she found herself on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in 2022.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated:“As a founder and leader of OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood operated one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated.  Greenwood and his co-conspirators, including fugitive Ruja Ignatova, conned unsuspecting victims out of billions of dollars with promises of a ‘financial revolution’ and claims that OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer,’” OneCoins were worthless.

Williams stated.“We hope this lengthy sentence resonates in the financial sector and deters anyone who may be tempted to lie to investors and exploit the cryptocurrency ecosystem through fraud,”.

Drawing a Line: OneCoin or Bitcoin

Prosecutors emphasized that OneCoin was promoted through an expansive global multi-level marketing structure. This strategic approach played a pivotal role in amplifying its reach and growth. Greenwood, along with Ignatova, consistently projected OneCoin in a light similar to that of Bitcoin. They drew parallels between the two, leading investors to believe they were investing in the next big cryptocurrency.

However, the extravagant lifestyle that Greenwood led tells a story of deception. Court details revealed his staggering expenses: $10,000 on a luxury resort stay in Brazil, a whopping $21,000 on a high-end villa in Thailand, and a plethora of other indulgences that included designer apparel, premium watches, and real estate in various countries. Perhaps the most audacious of his purchases was a private airplane, branded “OneCoin”.

Prosecutors said: “In reality, unlike legitimate cryptocurrencies, OneCoin had no actual value and was conceived of by Greenwood and Ignatova as a fraud from day one,” 

This landmark sentencing serves as a grim reminder of the potential pitfalls in the cryptocurrency space and emphasizes the importance of due diligence for investors.

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About Maria Morgan

Maria Morgan is a full-time cryptocurrency journalist at Coinography. She is graduate in Political Science and Journalism from London, her writing is centered around cryptocurrency news, regulation and policy-making across the glob.

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