‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova Added to FBI’s Most Wanted List | US News
A Bulgarian woman, also known as “Cryptoqueen”, has been included in the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Ruja Ignatova is accused of defrauding investors out of $4 billion (£3.3 billion) by selling a fake cryptocurrency called OneCoin.
Ignatova, a German citizen, disappeared in late 2017 after bugging an apartment of her American boyfriend and learning he was cooperating with an FBI investigation into OneCoin, prosecutors said.
She boarded a flight from Bulgaria to Greece and has not been seen since.
The FBI is offering a $100,000 (£82,463) reward for information leading to her arrest.
Ignatova is believed to be traveling with armed guards and/or staff, the bureau said, adding that she may have had cosmetic surgery or otherwise altered her appearance.
The 42-year-old was indicted on eight counts in 2019, including wire fraud and securities fraud, for operating Bulgaria-based OneCoin Ltd as a Ponzi scheme.
Prosecutors say the company offered commissions to members to entice others into buying worthless cryptocurrency.
“She timed her plan perfectly, capitalizing on the wild speculation of cryptocurrency’s early days,” said Damian Williams, Manhattan’s chief federal attorney.
He described OneCoin as “one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in history”.
The FBI puts fugitives on its Most Wanted list when it thinks the public could help locate suspects.
Michael Driscoll, the FBI’s deputy executive director in New York, said Ignatova “left with an enormous amount of cash.”
“Money can buy a lot of friends, and I could imagine her taking advantage of that.”