In late 2019, the remnants of multi-level Ponzi scheme Onecoin crumbled. However, Onecoin’s founder, dubbed the ‘crypto queen,’ Ruja Ignatova, remains on the run and law enforcement haven’t caught up with her yet. Moreover, police are investigating two churches in New Zealand that allegedly have links to the Onecoin operation and founders.
After Onecoin Operations Implode in Cairns, Investors Accept They Were Scammed
In 2014, Ruja Ignatova, Sebastian Greenwood, and Konstantin Ignatov launched a project called Onecoin and allegedly acquired $4 billion from investors unlawfully. Ignatova and her cohorts claimed that Onecoin was a legitimate cryptocurrency and the project followed the coattails of the crypto hype up until mid-2019. Multiple reports had disclosed that there was no blockchain behind Onecoin and the product was merely a multi-level marketing (MLM) Ponzi.
A few weeks ago, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Onecoin project falling apart at the seams as leaders were arrested and various websites were seized. For a while, a few Onecoin websites remained operational but most have since been taken down by domain hosts or local law enforcement. Websites like onecoin.eu, oneworldfoundation.eu, and oneacademy.eu show a “server hold” notice when entering the site.
Now in certain locations around the world, Onecoin side projects are also imploding and revealing how large the crypto Ponzi operation has grown over the years. Reports are now showing how Onecoin was very prevalent in Australia and New Zealand, signing up investors from numerous cities. On January 25, the Cairns Post reported on how investors from the east coast have started to accept that they have lost money. The Cairns Post exposed how the scheme was affecting Cairns residents in November but at the time investors were still in disbelief. Now Cairns residents have come to a point of acceptance, the news outlet notes. “I have come to the realization that the truth has been misrepresented to the Onelife network,” a Cairns-based Onecoin investor wrote.
Shilling Onecoin Packages in Church and Living the ‘High Life’ in Florida on House Arrest
Further, it seems that the Onecoin Ponzi infected the town of Auckland, New Zealand, and the region’s Samoan church. New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is currently investigating the Auckland-based Samoa Worship Centre over connections with the Ponzi. Onecoin leaders allegedly sold high-profile Samoan church community members “tens of thousands of dollars” worth of Onecoin products.
Reports disclose that both the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (SISDAC) and the organization’s sister worship center were used to shill Onecoin packages. According to the Auckland worship center’s pastor, Avele Tanielu, his church had no ties to the Onecoin operation. The DIA is investigating both churches and Onecoin operations are banned in Samoa. SISDAC has told the press that it was cooperating with authorities and maintains the church itself did not transgress against any money laundering laws.
In addition to the church investigations and the implosion in Cairns, in the U.S. former attorney Mark Scott has been allowed an extension to prepare motions to defend himself against a prison sentence. Scott is accused of laundering $400 million worth of Onecoin’s proceeds. Currently, Scott is under house arrest in Florida and his lawyers are allegedly preparing for a new trial or an acquittal motion. Additionally, Scott’s legal team says that Scott needs to undertake treatment for “longstanding medical issues” and they are requesting more time to prepare for new motions. However, media reports and prosecutors also note that Scott was recently “spotted out to dinner” with bodyguards and was living the “high life” in Florida.
New York Southern District Court Gives Victims Permission to Serve the ‘Crypto Queen’ by Alternative Means
While the aftermath of Onecoin’s demise continues to shake victims, it seems as though most of the operations are coming to a halt. The so-called crypto queen Ruja Ignatova has been missing for well over a year and she has yet to be charged like Sebastian Greenwood and Konstantin Ignatov were last year. In the U.S., Judge Valerie Caproni has authorized victims who are suing Onecoin and Ignatova to serve her by alternative means.
The people suing Ignatova attempted to serve her through the onecoin.eu email account she used since 2016. Now thanks to Caproni’s court order, Onecoin victims have permission for alternative service. This means the plaintiffs can serve her with registered first-class mail to the Dubai headquarters, message her social media accounts and other means of contact. Caproni stressed that the plaintiffs must notify the court in writing whether they received a sender-return error for Ignatova or a contact message.
What do you think about the Onecoin Ponzi? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Fair Use, Twitter, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay.
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