FBI MOST WANTED. Ruja Ignatova, The Crypto Queen. True Crime Story

FBI MOST WANTED. Ruja Ignatova, The Crypto Queen. True Crime Story

Just a few weeks ago Ruja Ignativa was added to the FBI's Most Wanted List. Right alongside Cartel leaders, murders and more. There is a reason.

This is the True Cyber Crime Story of THE CRYPTO QUEEN.


Ruja Ignatova A/K/A The Crypto Queen sits on the FBI’s Top 10 MOST WANTED still today. She is wanted and remains at large. It's alleged to be the single largest Crypto currency Ponzi scheme in history. Three main players, Ruja Ignatova (The Crypto Queen), her brother Konstantin and Sebastian Greenwood (the public face of ONECOIN and ONELIFE) wreaked havoc on the world amassing over $4 Billion dollars for a crypto currency that never even existed.

They sold out Wembley Stadium while fire shot to the sky and Alicia Keyes’ song “This girl is on fire” radiated into the balconies.

We explore our research, commentary, and findings of the ONE COIN and ONE LIFE purported scam, which lead to two (2) mysterious deaths and loss of over $4 Billion Dollars in hard-working victim’s retirement funds and life savings. It’s a true Cyber Crime Story about fraud, deceit and consumption with their kingpins remaining at large and one who, while in custody, was still able to steal and transfer over $20 Million dollars with a contraband phone. 


Why did normally sensible people invest most or all of their money into a bogus currency? 

It was led by like a cult-like recruitment program with a lady who has been termed and self-proclaimed “queen of crypto” was called ONE COIN.

It was the newest crypto coin to end all other coins. It was called the “Bitcoin killer”. There are over the 12,000 different types of cryptocurrencies. Nothing was supposed to be like ONCECOIN and nothing was. This was one poised to break all the records and bring great fortune to many. It was set to revolutionize the cryptocurrency market promising staggering returns for investors.

They had webinars, trading seminars, marketing campaigns, public speeches, epic news media coverages, a fateful evening show at Wembley Stadium with music blasting the Alicia Keye’s song, "This Girl Is On Fire", all while pyrotechnics shot up flames that seemed to touch the sky above the UK. 

Then in a flash, several governments, regulators and legal prosecutors declared it as a fraud.


Their offices were raided. And it was learned that there was, in fact, no blockchain technology whatsoever creating this coin. That's the heart of any cryptocurrency is the security and the reality behind it. And the crypto exchange that it was hosted on couldn't even cash out the coins, the people that had invested thousands, no millions, actually billions in combined life savings into this crypto coin called ONCECOIN that actually never even existed. 

Listen to the Episode here. 

Want More Details? Check out our Podcast episode on The Crypto Queen.

By 2017 this crypto queen seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth with over $1 billion missing or lost and hundreds of thousands of people bankrupt or having lost their life savings.


She called it ONECOIN. Her team made slick videos. Promising that buying ONECOIN was a way to ride the crypto wave for people who didn't understand crypto. And word quickly spread reaching people in 175 different countries around the world.

By 2016, Ignatova could pack a stadium. And she did. She claimed ONECOIN was easy to use. It was for everyone. You could make payments everywhere. Everyone can and they can do it globally. It was to really transform and revolutionize currency as we know it.

Who is The Crypto Queen?

Ruja Ignatova was born in Bulgaria on May 30th, 1980, born in a town called Ruse.

She immigrated to Germany with her family when she was 10 and then spent part of her childhood in in Schramberg in the state of Baden-Württemberg. She got her BA from University of Oxford. And in 2005, she earned a PhD in private international law from the University of Constance.

She also worked for McKinsey and company, which is a very well-known global management consulting firm founded way back in 1926 by University of Chicago professor James McKinzie. For those who may have. remembered McKinsey, it has been associated with a few newsworthy events, like the collapse of Enron in 2001, the 2008 financial crisis and others. Ignatova was an attorney and was married to a German lawyer with whom she had a daughter in 2016.

Shortly thereafter she disappeared. And today her whereabouts remain unknown.


A quick timeline of events involve following: in 2012, she was convicted of fraud in Germany, in connection with her and her father Plamen Ignatov's acquisition of a company that shortly afterwards was declared bankrupt in very skeptical circumstances.

She was given a suspended license sentence of 14 months imprisonment. Meaning she had jail hanging over head. And if she violated anything, she would've to serve 14 months in jail. But, that didn't seem to stop her. The following year in 2013, she was involved in a multi-level marketing scam called “Big Coin’.

And then the following year after that, she founded the Ponzi scheme called ONECOIN

In 2019, her brother Konstantin Ignatova pled guilty to fraud money lording in connection. With this scheme in 2022 police in Germany confirmed an investigation of this lawyer from Nunberg for money laundering, the transfer of 7.7 million euros by Ignatova into one of the private accounts.

It has made international news and there's been a leading podcast on the BBC podcast platform. It's essentially the hunt for this woman today. That's a quick overview of the timeline, but now we're gonna explain what actually happened. And there have been a lot of Ponzi schemes in the past.

What Did They Sell Actually?

There Was No True Crypto Currency Nor Blockchain Technology Behind It.

ONE COIN itself was not an actively traded cryptocurrency. It had no blockchain technology.

What's alleged is that, at most, they sold was education materials. However, as if it could get any worse, most of those education materials were allegedly plagiarized.

The course material business model was akin to MLM scheme. A multi-level marketing scheme where course material buyers were paid to recruit new buyers.

The Fake Crypto Tokens & Exchange

And how did ONECOIN work? Well, their claim was a powerful one and that was that one coins could be mined. Their claim was that it was indeed a cryptocurrency which could be mined. They claimed there existed in the world 120 billion coins that were available and they could be used to make payments, even having an E-Wallet that you can open and save your coins into.

There was in fact, no ONECOIN blockchain model or payment system.

However, the reality was far different. There was in fact, no ONECOIN blockchain model or payment system. The rest seemed to be smoke and mirrors. One of the most profitable segments of smoke and mirrors in history, the courses that they did sell included other areas as well, such as trading and investing the buyers of these mostly plagiarized courses were offered rewards for bringing in more participants to the courses and buyers of the course packages were to receive token.

Those tokens could then be used to mine for ONE COINS.

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So how did the ONECOIN exchange work? Well, the exchange for converting ONECOIN into currencies was called the ONECOIN EXCHANGE under the acronym “X coin X”. It was an internal marketplace. “Members” were able to access the exchange if they bought more than just the beginner education training package.

Unlike most other crypto exchanges, here they placed selling limits on accounts, based on the level of education package purchased. By January, 2017 the exchange was shut down. Part of what led to the investors’ hardship loss and damage is that ONE COIN denied the majority of withdrawal requests and the exchange was the only way affiliates could cash out.


So when did people start to figure this out? When did people start to find, figure out that ONECOIN was infected fraud? The answer's not soon enough. Obviously in 2016, questions started to come up about as many countries began to investigate the company, some calling it a pyramid scheme. The Direct Selling Association in Norway called the ONECOIN fraud pyramid scheme back in March 2016.

Later that year, the Hungarian Central Bank claimed that ONECOIN was also a pyramids scheme.


As we mentioned, when a warrant was filed for Ruja’s arrest, her brother Konstantin replaced her as the face of the company. And co-founder Greenwood was arrested in 2018.

Konstantin ran and was ultimately arrested in 2019.

What about all the people that lost their money? There were many of them several have attorneys and they've filed claim after claim with the Bulgarian government, asserting that they're not doing enough to seize assets. There's a lot of civil litigation to try and seize the assets. So their losses can be mitigated.

 And then there were some other shocking stories that were tied in indirectly related.No alt text provided for this image

There was mysterious deaths of two ONECOIN representatives and they were pretty recent in 2022. ONECOIN advocates were found dead murdered in Mexico. Two promoters of ONECOIN were found in Mazatlan Mexico.

Oscar Bria Ibarra, and Ignasio Ibarra. Two major promoters of one coin were kidnapped and killed according to the Latin American publication, La Tercera

According to the report, the two men were promoting ONECOIN as a payment method for a local car firm, a local automobile company. On June 20th, 2020 the two traveled to Mexico to promote a scam by offering discounts for making purchasing vehicles with ONECOIN.

They were allegedly suffocated to death and their bodies were stuffed into suitcases and dumped in a vacant lot.

Significantly, the ONE COIN scam was well known and the arrests had been publicized before the time Oscar Brito Ibarra joined ONECOIN.

According to the report. The promised cars though, were never delivered despite the two men continually to promote the scam across and throughout Latin America. Some speculate that local cartels may have been involved in the murder. There wound up being about 140 people in Argentina scammed by the end of 2019, with some having lost up to $400,000.


Ruja went underground in 2017, just at the time when law enforcement was starting to get wind of all the companies and what they had been doing. She was due to attend an event in Lisbon, but instead she, for some reason, boarded a plane to Athens and then disappeared.

She's never been seen in public or by anyone. Her closest confidant, her boyfriend at the time, was even allegedly cooperating with authorities.


Just a few weeks ago Ruja Ignativa was added to the FBI's Most Wanted List. Right alongside Cartel leaders, murders and more. There is a reason.

Her brother Konstantin has since been indicted and was detained in the US after being investigated by the FBI. He was arrested on March 6th, 2019 at the Los Angeles international airport. He was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy stemming from his role.

He was later released from prison on a $500,000 bond, which made a lot of people wonder and speculate because how could a $500,000 bond be issued when there's $4 billion of hard earned funds and retirement funds and people's life savings missing?

He pled guilty to multiple felonies. Later that year in 2019, he's been free on bond while he awaits sentencing. He's allegedly agreed to testify against many and it’s leading to several other arrests.

And then there was Sebastian Greenwood. Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a marketing specialist for ONECOIN. He even still has a LinkedIn. He's currently facing jail time in Manhattan. He was the public face of ONECOIN and ONELIFE. He was the one at stage center of ONECOIN onstage. He was the one that could translate all of the hype and all of the brand image that they had created.

Karl Greenwood still allegedly is masterminding things and was even able to transfer 20 million dollars worth of funds, that should be going to the victims, away and transfer it into accounts that he either owns or has control over, all while still in jail. Apparently Greenwood allegedly was was aided by a network of lawyers and given a contraband cell phone.

Today Ruja Ignatova sits on the FBI's 10 most wanted list announced in June 2022.

FBI agent and spokesperson Mike Driscoll stated that “our hope in that naming her to the top 10 most wanted fugitive list will draw attention to her and her alleged crimes”, NBC news reported in June. At a press conference, Damien Williams, US attorney for the Southern district of New York called her “an international fugitive who allegedly mastermind a worldwide fraud.”

Williams said “she now sits side by side on the top 10 list with cartel leaders, murderers and terrorists”. And he said, “that's no accident.”

Have information to Aid in The Arrest

You can submit a tip online at tips.FBI.gov

Or Call 1-800-CALL-FBI

And thanks, for being a Cyber Crime Junkie.

Set Cybersecurity Priorities-Ask for Help

Cybersecurity is not the responsibility of the CIO. It’s the responsibility of the C-Suite. Tope leadership own, founded or manage the brand. When a breach destroys the trust customers have in the organization then the brand is irreparably harmed. That accountability does not solely fall into the lap of the top tech person. Sure they may have the team to manage systems and infrastructure but it’s the executive leaders who set funding, prioities and place security top of mind into the culture.

Those who run the culture of an organization actually own the responsibility for cybersecurity.

If you don’t know what steps to take, or which priorities to set this year, then simply get help. Contact your IT advisor or get an independent holistic perspective on your state of risk from our team at All Covered-Konica Minolta, a Top 10 rated Cybersecurity Firm globally, located right here in the US.

David Mauro

Regional Manager US Central Region

All Covered, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, US

Contact David Mauro and the All Covered Team to learn more. @dmauro@allcovered.com

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