FBI Offers $5 Million Bounty For Fugitive ‘CryptoQueen’ Ruja Ignatova

OneCoin's Ruja Ignatova. Image credit: OneCoin

US authorities place huge bounty on Ruja Ignatova, the former leader of OneCoin cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme

A fugitive woman charged for allegedly carrying out one of the biggest cryptocurrencies scams in history, has come under renewed pressure from the FBI.

It has been announced that the United States Department of State’s Transnational Organised Crime Rewards Program is now offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Ruja Ignatova.

Oxford-educated Ruja Ignatova, nicknamed the “Cryptoqueen”, ran the Bulgaria-based OneCoin cryptocurrency venture, which a federal prosecutor had previously called “one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history”.

OneCoin's Ruja Ignatova. Image credit: FBI
OneCoin’s Ruja Ignatova. Image credit: FBI

Ruja Ignatova

The FBI in 2019 charged Ignatova, a German citizen, with eight counts including wire fraud and securities fraud over the scheme.

In July 2022 the FBI added Ignatova it’s list of its ten most-wanted fugitives, offering $100,000 for information leading to Ignatova’s capture.

Ignatova was charged alongside Mark Scott, a former corporate lawyer who prosecutors said laundered about $400m for OneCoin.

Scott was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, following a three-week trial in Manhattan federal court in 2022.

Prosecutors allege the OneCoin cryptocurrency venture had offered commissions to members to entice others to buy the worthless cryptocurrency.

Ignatova was OneCoin’s high-profile leader, touring the world and addressing crowded events, telling them that OneCoin was a “Bitcoin killer”.

On the run

However she disappeared in late 2017 after bugging an apartment belonging to her American boyfriend and learning he was co-operating with an FBI probe into OneCoin.

She boarded a flight from Bulgaria to Greece and was not been seen since.

Now the FBI had dramatically increased the bounty, “offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Ruja Ignatova.”

The FBI said that Ignatova is believed to travel with armed guards and/or associates.

The agency added that Ignatova may have had plastic surgery or otherwise altered her appearance.