A criminal court in Argentina’s Córdoba has jailed two men – a businessman and a surgeon – for their part in developing a pyramid scheme based on selling fake tokens they claim were “affiliated” with the OneCoin crypto scam.
Clarin reported that the court sentenced the 33-year-old Adolfo Rodrigo Domínguez to three years and six months behind bars. Another man, Aldo Javier Leguizamón (53), was given a term of four years and three months at the same trial.
The court heard that the duo was “part of an illicit association” that “carried out scams” that involved selling OneCoin tokens, as well as Zeven Coin. However, the duo also made use of several other fake tokens they claimed could be swapped for OneCoin holdings.
Many of these coins “were not actually ‘real,’” the court heard. In fact, they were “part of a ruse” that the two men used to “disguise a pyramid scheme” that drew in victims from Argentina, as well as Uruguay and Panama.
Prosecutors explained that the duo encouraged new “clients” to take up “membership” in their project. This tiered membership program allowed new recruits “to join a community of users of financial and commercial services.”
And the more clients invested, the more “privileged information” and “little-known” “tokens” they could expect to receive. These coins, the men assured their victims, could “be converted into OneCoin holdings.”
All of their victims’ transactions, however, turned out to be fake – and were engineered to look as though they had actually taken place on crypto exchanges. In fact, these turned out to be non-existent trading platforms.
The duo also made use of the Deal Shaker e-commerce platform – an “exchange” that claims to accept payments in OneCoin.
Defendants: We Were OneCoin Victims, Too!
The court also heard that the defendants claimed that they themselves had been the victims of the wider OneCoin scam – and pleaded for clemency.
OneCoin is one of the most infamous crypto scams ever hatched, and is set to become the subject of a major Hollywood movie. It was masterminded by Ruja Ignatova, dubbed the “missing cryptoqueen” by a BBC podcast series of the same name.
Earlier this year, Ignatova was added to Europol’s list of most wanted fugitives. Her brother Konstantin Ignatov, another OneCoin kingpin, pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in the United States in 2019.