The US Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) placed Ruja Ignatova, also known as the infamous ‘missing Cryptoqueen’ on its top ten most wanted list.
This is the first time the FBI has put a woman in its top 10 most wanted list. The FBI officials believe that the designation will help in her arrest and create awareness among the general public regarding her role in scamming people of their hard-earned money via a cryptocurrency OneCoin.
Several thousands of people from across the planet invested millions into OneCoin and lost their money after an investigation revealed that Dr Ruja was running a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme. She defrauded her victims of more than $4 billion dollars.
Her claim was – OneCoin is the BitCoin killer.
The Bulgarian has been missing since 2017 – the same year the US law enforcement agencies signed a warrant for her arrest and investigators began closing in on her.
Ignatova is wanted for her role in running OneCoin which was a cryptocurrency without a blockchain and was being sold since 2014 like a pyramid scheme where buyers were offered commission if they sold currency to more people.
The discovery of the blockchain technology not being used to safeguard OneCoin led to suspicions in the minds of several investors who later found out that they were duped.
“She timed her scheme perfectly, capitalizing on the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency,” Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor Damian Williams was quoted as saying by news agency BBC.
She is charged in the US on eight counts including wire fraud and securities fraud.
The FBI Bureau has offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of Ignatova in its notice this week.
It was the ‘Missing Cryptoqueen’ podcast, hosted by Jamie Bartlett and produced by Georgia Catt, on BBC Sounds, which revealed that Dr Ruja robbed millions from unsuspecting people.
She was last seen in Athens but many believe she could also be dead. During the BBC investigation it was revealed that Ruja wanted to stop at one point but there were ‘other powerful people’ involved who allowed the operations to take place well until 2018 and 2019, two years after her disappearance.
Jamie Bartlett also revealed that Ruja fled with at least $500 million which helped her cover her tracks and flee law enforcement agencies across Europe.
Bartlett says she could be in possession of high quality fake identity documents and has changed her appearance through plastic surgery to avoid being caught.