Irina Dilkinska, the former “Head of Legal and Compliance” of OneCoin, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges. This plea marks a crucial step in the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme that defrauded investors worldwide.
OneCoin, established in 2014 by Ruja Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood, was a company based in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was marketed as a revolutionary cryptocurrency but was, in reality, a fraudulent pyramid scheme operated through a global multi-level-marketing (MLM) network. Despite being revealed as a scam in 2015, OneCoin managed to generate significant revenues, amounting to over €4 billion between 2014 and 2016.
Dilkinska, the 42-year-old Bulgarian national, served as OneCoin’s head of legal and compliance. Contrary to her role, she facilitated the laundering of millions of dollars of illicit profits garnered by OneCoin. Among her notable activities was the transfer of $110 million in fraudulently obtained proceeds to a Cayman Islands entity.
Dilkinska pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each carrying a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for February 14, 2024, under the jurisdiction of U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos. The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.
Ruja Ignatova, known as the “Cryptoqueen,” remains at large since her disappearance in 2017, shortly after a federal warrant was issued for her arrest. Ignatova was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in 2022, with a $100,000 reward for information leading to her arrest. Co-founder Greenwood was convicted of fraud and money laundering, receiving a 20-year prison sentence and ordered to pay $300 million in restitution.
The guilty plea of Irina Dilkinska in the OneCoin case underscores the extent of the fraudulent activities within the cryptocurrency scheme. With significant financial losses and global impact, the case continues to be a stark reminder of the risks associated with unregulated digital currencies.
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