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Saturday, August 13, 2022

FBI adds Ruja Ignatova to top 10 most wanted


WASHINGTON: Ruja Ignatova, also known as the “missing Cryptoqueen”, has been placed on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list, BBC reported. 

The Bulgarian woman, believed to be in her 40s, is wanted for her alleged role in running a cryptocurrency scam known as OneCoin.

Federal investigators accuse the fugitive of using the scheme to defraud victims out of more than $4bn (£3.2bn).

She has been missing since 2017 when US officials signed an arrest warrant and investigators began closing in on her.

In 2014, OneCoin, a self-described cryptocurrency, began offering buyers commission if they sold the currency to more people.

But FBI agents say OneCoin was worthless and was never safeguarded by the blockchain technology used by other cryptocurrencies.

According to allegations made by federal prosecutors, it was essentially a Ponzi scheme disguised as a cryptocurrency.

“She timed her scheme perfectly, capitalising on the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency,” said Damian Williams, Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor.

The FBI adds fugitives to its most wanted list when it believes the general public may be able to assist in tracking them down.

A bureau notice published on Thursday offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of Ms. Ignatova, who was charged in 2019 with eight counts including wire fraud and securities fraud.

She is the only woman on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

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