With $ 4 billion "in her suitcase" has disappeared the head of OneCoin Rugia Ignatova, with the FBI authorities launching a hunt to find out where she is hiding.
Bulgaria's "queen of cryptocurrencies" had spread corruption tentacles around the world through OneCoin and the revolution that would bring in cryptos.
How fraud was set up
Ignatova had created a huge delusion around its own cryptocurrency, OneCoin, claiming it as Bitcoin's major competitor and promising huge profits to investors.
In an extensive investigation and documentary documented by the BBC, it is arguably the biggest fraud in the cryptocurrency market. Ignatova, through a multi-level marketing model reminiscent of Pyramid and thanks to its dynamic presentations at events even sponsored by the Economist, managed to persuade investors from 175 countries to invest a total of $ 4 billion in OneCoin, with the same disappear a short time later.
Speaking to the BBC, many have revealed that they have fallen victim to the "queen" of Bulgarian nets, including Jeanne MacAdams, who bought thousands of OneCoin, urging her friends and family to do the same. Mac Adams is a prime example of the fraud of Ignatova had put in, having invested more than 15,000 euros in her company and urged her circle to invest more than 200,000 euros. She watched the cryptocurrency through the OneCoin website, receiving £ 100,000 - a 10x return - as a result of her investment drive.
How the fraud was revealed
Then Timothy Curry, a big fan of Bitcoin, appeared, telling Mac Adams that OneCoin was a scam - "the biggest scam in the world". After a few weeks, Curry sent Mac Adams detailed information on how cryptos work and urged her to contact Bjorn Bjercke, the blockchain developer, who revealed to her that there was no blockchain technology behind OneCoin! Mac Adams immediately rushed to ask OneCoin if there was a blockchain.
She was initially told that she was not something she needed to know, but when she went on, she finally learned the truth in April 2017, with the company reporting that a standard SQL Server database was not the basis for a genuine encryption.
FBI authorities have issued arrest warrants since 2017 in search of Roya Ignatova. Constantine's brother has been arrested by the FBI for allegations of cyber fraud and money laundering, and appears to have had links to OneCoin as well.