Greenwood faces 20 years behind bars for masterminding the notorious OneCoin Ponzi scheme, but the FBI are still looking for his co-conspirator.
Karl Greenwood, co-founder of the notorious Ponzi scheme OneCoin, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday, September 12.
OneCoin launched in 2014 out of Bulgaria, touting itself as the next Bitcoin, or more brazenly – the “Bitcoin killer”. The Ponzi raised over $4 billion from millions of investors, despite it having no real value.
Greenwood, alongside Ruja Ignatova, misled investors into believing that OneCoin was supported by a blockchain – going as far as including mining hardware images in their promo materials.
In reality, the project had no public and verifiable blockchain, and no mining operations.
Prosecuting, US Attorney Damian Williams described the fraud as “one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated”.
Ignatova, otherwise known as “the crypto queen”, was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list in June 2022, where she remains.
Williams added, “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.’ In fact, OneCoins were entirely worthless, and investors were left with nothing, while Greenwood lined his own pockets with over $300 million.”
OneCoin was “not mining actually – but telling people shit.”
The prosecution reveals emails between Greenwood and Ignatova actively conspiring to mislead investors.
Regarding the promo materials featuring alleged mining pools, Greenwood wrote to Ignatova stating, “[t]he concept of converting tokens into OneCoin is an important phase for validity and truth behind the OneCoin. The so called ‘mining’ of coins is a concept that is very familiar in the industry and a story we can sell to the members.”
Both knew that OneCoin was “not mining actually—but telling people shit.”
In the same email exchange, Greenwood asked Ignatova, “how can this be investigated and found out?” and “Can any member (trying to be clever) find out that we actually are not investing in machines to mine but it is merely a piece of software doing this for us?”
In addition to 20 years in prison, Greenwood must also pay back the $300 million he made in OneCoin commissions.
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