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Co-founder of the notorious OneCoin crypto scam sentenced to 20 years

2min Read

A U.S. judge sentenced OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood to 20 years in prison for orchestrating the massive OneCoin crypto scam.

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  • The judge also ordered the crypto scam leader to pay $300 million in forfeiture.
  • OneCoin was a notorious crypto scam that defrauded 3.5 million people of $4 billion.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos sentenced OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood to 20 years in prison and a fine of $300 million. U.S. The attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York notified of the judgement on 12 September.

OneCoin was a notorious crypto scam that defrauded 3.5 million people of $4 billion.

Greenwood co-founded OneCoin along with the “Crypto Queen” Ruja Ignatova in Bulgaria in 2014. They referred to the scheme as a “financial revolution.” They not only likened the OneCoin token to Bitcoin [BTC] but also called it the ‘Bitcoin killer.”

The team of fraudsters publicized the scheme through a global multi-level marketing (MLM) network. In fact, it was Greenwood who birthed the idea of using an MLM-type pyramid scheme to defraud the investors. Authorities alleged that he acted as a “global master distributor” and leader for the scheme.

The operators told investors that the token had real value when, in fact, it did not even exist on the blockchain.

The 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.

The scheme went on to generate up to $4 billion in revenue.

Greenwood himself received 5% of monthly OneCoin sales as commissions. In total, he made $300 million from the crypto scam. He spent millions of dollars on personal luxuries, resorts, a private “OneCoin” airplane and travel.

Authorities arrested Greenwood in Thailand and extradited him to the U.S. in 2018. In December 2022, he pleaded guilty to the charges of wire fraud and money laundering. He thought of the investors as “idiots,” as per an internal message.

Where are “Crypto Queen” Ignatova and her accomplices?

Other members associated with the OneCoin crypto scam are facing charges or found guilty or are absconding.

Ignatova still remains a fugitive. She was last seen taking a flight to Greece in 2017. The “Crypto Queen” remains on the Most Wanted lists of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Her advisor Frank Schneider was scheduled to stand trial in December 2022. However, he disappeared before being extradited to the U.S.

Authorities charged Irina Dilkinska, the supposed Head of Legal and Compliance for OneCoin, in March 2023. Another accomplice Christopher Hamilton was scheduled for extradition in 2022 but is presently contesting the extradition order. Mark Scott was found guilty in 2019.


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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