Feds put $5M bounty on 'CryptoQueen' Ruja Ignatova

OneCoin co-founder allegedly bilked investors out of $4B

Uncle Sam has put a $5 million bounty on any information leading to the arrest or conviction of self-titled "CryptoQueen" Ruja Ignatova, who is wanted in the US for apparently bilking victims out of more than $4 billion in what the Feds describe as the "one of the largest global fraud schemes in history."

In 2014, Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood co-founded the "Bitcoin killer" OneCoin in Sofia, Bulgaria. The two, along with Ignatova's younger brother, Konstantin touted OneCoin as a legitimate cryptocurrency.

"To promote OneCoin, Ruja organized glamorous parties, funded international company events in Dubai, Macao, Singapore, and the UK; and, according to some sources, even invited Tom Jones to perform at her birthday party in London," according to court documents [PDF]. "In the year following the creation of OneCoin, Ruja and her peers bought millions of dollars' worth of real estate across the world."

In reality, according to one of these investors who sued the trio in 2019, the operation was a $4 billion "Ponzi scheme" for a cryptocurrency that "never really existed, on a blockchain that never really existed, born from mining farms that never really existed."

In October 2017, Ignatova was indicted by a grand jury in New York and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Two weeks later, she hopped on a plane from Sofia, Bulgaria to Athens, Greece to evade arrest, and hasn't been seen since. A BBC podcast speculates that she may have had plastic surgery and is living incognito in Europe.


The FBI's wanted poster for Ignatova ... Note, her appearance may have changed

In February 2018, a superseding indictment [PDF] added charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud to Ignatova's alleged crimes, and in 2022 she was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.  

Germany has also criminally charged Ignatova for her role in the alleged scheme.

Konstantin was arrested in 2019 at the Los Angeles International Airport, and Greenwood pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court in 2022 to charges of conspiring to defraud investors and to launder money.

Ignatova remains at large.

The reward of up to $5 million for information about her whereabouts, leading to her arrest and/or conviction, is offered through the US Department of State's Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program

Anyone with information about Ignatova can contact the FBI via Telegram: @RujaReward, Signal: @RujaReward.01, online at tips.fbi.gov or via the local FBI office. Those living outside of America with any tips or sightings are urged to visit the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. ®

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