How The FBI’s Most Wanted Crypto Scam Queen Disappeared with $4 Billion

By Evan Spicer

Director of Cryptocurrency Investigations

We have an idea of how an ordinary crypto scam works. However, OneCoin was a royal scam. In fact, it’s so royal,  the woman behind it, Ruja Ignatova, is often referred to as the “Crypto Queen.” She ran one of the most lucrative (which is to say destructive) crypto scams ever, and robbed customers of $4 billion. 

This Bulgarian-born crypto queen went missing with her ill-gotten gains in 2017 and hasn’t been tracked down yet. Ignatova has the dubious distinction of making the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. In fact, she’s the only female to crack the top ten and one of only eleven women on the entire list. 

Crypto Queen: Madoff and Holmes Meet Crypto

The scale of her fraud and her tactics can be compared to Bernie Madoff, who robbed investors of $65 billion in a Ponzi scheme, and Elizabeth Homes, who used her attractiveness and lifestyle to coax investors and customers to surrender billions to her vision which, as it turned out, signified nothing. 

Unlike Madoff and Homes, though, Ignatova gave the authorities the slip and has evaded justice for years. However, her lovers, her partners and even her brother have been left to pick up the pieces and pay the penalty. Most of them have been arrested and charged with crimes related to OneCoin. 

However, Ignatova appears to have gotten away with her riches stashed across the globe, at least for the time being. She could be in Eastern Europe, Greece, the Middle East, or anywhere else. Given the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency, she could still be making lavish purchases and shopping online and no one would be the wiser. 

Authorities believe that Ignatova has disguised her appearance, probably drastically. She may have had dramatic plastic surgery to alter her appearance beyond recognition. Some even speculate that she may appear as a man. 

Although authorities have apprehended and punished a number of people associated with the OneCoin crypto scam, crypto recovery for OneCoin victims is still elusive. Since the Crypto Queen made off with most of her wealth, there yet isn’t enough to return to people who were harmed by the crypto scam. 

What We Can Learn from the OneCoin Crypto Scam Fiasco

LIke many other crypto scams, OneCoin promised to be the next big thing. OneCoin was created in 2013 as bitcoin’s star (and price) was rising. People who feel they missed out on the bitcoin rally were looking for the next crypto trend. That’s where Ruja Ignatova saw a void to fill. 

Ignatova came from humble beginnings. Born to working-class parents in Bulgaria, she excelled in school, moved to Germany, attended Konstanz University, and eventually studied comparative European law at Oxford University. She was highly successful, working as a McKinsey consultant for major European banks. 

However, following the global financial meltdown in 2008, Ignatova realized that, although she had achieved success, she had yet to accomplish her goal of becoming incredibly wealthy. 

She hitched her wagon to the rising crypto trend and created a product that would not only be as popular as bitcoin but would be a “bitcoin killer.” Armed with an MLM strategy, she used her looks and fancy clothes to create an impression of the luxury customers could expect if they bought OneCoin.

Ignatova’s marketing strategy was ingenious, but also tacky and dishonest. She sold what she called educational packages and sponsored OneCoin giveaways that would loop recipients into mandatory purchases. She made bold live appearances pushing OneCoin dressed like a rock star and with music pumping in the background, most notably, at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2016. 

As with all crypto scams, the walls eventually caved in. When Ignatova saw signs that authorities were on her trail, she disappeared with her wealth and was last seen in her native Bulgaria. While law enforcement agencies are still searching for the elusive crypto queen, OneCoin crypto scam victims are still awaiting any signs of crypto recovery. 

What We Can Learn from the OneCoin Crypto Scam

The OneCoin crypto scam is a case in which some of the accomplices have been caught and brought to justice, but the stolen funds are as hidden as the crypto queen herself. It would be great if governments could provide some kind of compensation for OneCoin victims, but as of yet, there isn’t anything offered. 

There is a chance that the authorities will catch up with the Crypto Queen someday, liquidate her assets and, through legal procedures, distribute them to the victims of the crypto scam. However, the road to crypto recovery from the OneCoin fraud is likely to be a long one. Until then, you can enlist the assistance of MyChargeBack experts who can improve your chances of crypto recovery. 

Have You Lost Money to OneCoin? Talk to MyChargeBack Professionals Today

If you have lost money to financial fraud, talk to the MyChargeBack team. Our investigations will provide evidence to bolster your claim. Our investigation reports are essential for tracking down your funds and getting you started on the road to fund recovery.