Ruja Ignatova, also known as the Crypto Queen, was the subject of the latest episode of monthly podcast, “Inside the FBI.”
Following the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation’s (Europol) decision to add Ignatova to its most-wanted list in May, the agency is currently offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest. Ignatova is accused of operating a massive Ponzi scheme by the name of OneCoin.
Initially launched in 2014, OneCoin was claimed to be “easy to use” and “for everyone” by Ignatova. It was claimed to have a maximum supply of 120 billion coins and potential to be a “Bitcoin Killer.”
Ignatova has been on the run since 2017 after defrauding investors of billions. She is now being accused of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud, and Securities Fraud.
Despite claiming that Ignatova is a 42-year-old lady with brown eyes and dark brown to black hair, investigators believe that Ignatova might have changed her physical appearance while on the run.
Investigative Journalist Jamie Bartlett said that she might have gone through plastic surgery since she “wasn’t that visible in 2018/2019, and plastic surgeons are very discreet with rich clients”. Adding to the difficulty of finding Ignatova, she can speak multiple languages, including English, German and Bulgarian.
The podcast was launched in 2008, and it is ranked No.11 among all U.S. Government podcasts on Apple, according to podcast analytics site Chartable.
The FBI podcast is not the first to report on the case of Ignatova. The BBC Sounds Podcast, The Missing Queen, reported on the documents leaked to the BBC. It revealed that 30 million Euros were invested into OneCoin in the first half of 2016 by British Investors, and OneCoin didn’t even have a blockchain.
While Ignatova could evade law enforcement, OneCoin’s lawyer and her brother were not so lucky. Mark Scott, OneCoin’s lawyer, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud by the US District Court in Manhattan. Konstantin Ignatov, her brother, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering.