OneCoin Co-Founder Greenwood Sentenced to Two Decades in U.S. Prison for Fraud and Money Laundering

Karl Greenwood, a co-founder of the infamous cryptocurrency scam OneCoin, received a 20-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay $300 million on September 20 in the United States. It’s important to note that his fellow co-founder, Ruja Ignatova, remains at large.

Greenwood, who holds citizenship in both the United Kingdom and Sweden, faced sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In a statement released by the U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams characterized OneCoin as “one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated.” The fraudulent multilevel marketing and Ponzi scheme managed to swindle an astonishing $4 billion from approximately 3.5 million victims. The statement emphasized, “In reality, unlike legitimate cryptocurrencies, OneCoin had no actual value.”

What made the OneCoin scheme particularly deceptive was its attempt to liken itself to Bitcoin in its marketing pitches. However, in stark contrast to legitimate cryptocurrencies, OneCoin lacked a genuine blockchain. The U.S. Justice Department highlighted that it didn’t possess a public and verifiable blockchain, had no mining operations, and didn’t possess as many coins on its private blockchain as it had sold.

Greenwood had been in custody since 2018 when he was extradited from Thailand. In December, he pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering. It’s worth noting that he could have faced a sentence of up to 60 years for his crimes. Greenwood had reportedly amassed over $300 million through a 5% commission on all OneCoin sales and had indulged in a lavish lifestyle, which included luxury goods.

As for Ruja Ignatova, she has not been seen since October 2017 and remains on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Ten Most Wanted List. While Ignatova remains at large, several other former OneCoin executives are facing legal consequences.

In March, OneCoin’s former head of legal and compliance, Irina Dilkinska, was charged in the United States with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Additionally, Christopher Hamilton, an associate of Ignatova, was reportedly slated for extradition to the U.S. on charges of fraud and money laundering in August 2022.

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