OneCoin update: Ruja Ignatova and associate default on $4B fraud suit

OneCoin update: Ruja Ignatova and associate default on $4B fraud suit

May 21, 2021

Cryptocurrency scam OneCoin, its founder and a Florida-based financier linked to the project have failed to respond to a class action lawsuit raised in connection with an alleged $4 billion fraud conducted through the scheme. According to reports, OneCoin’s fugitive founder Ruja Ignatova and financier Gilbert Armenta were found by a judge to be in default, after failing to respond to official requests.

Their lack of response comes in a case raised by two investors, on behalf of the class of investors, which alleged OneCoin to be a Ponzi scheme operating on a “massive” scale.

The lawsuit alleged OneCoin to be relying on Ponzi-style structures and multilevel marketing techniques in order to defraud unsuspecting investors in their millions. Investors were misled into believing OneCoin had intrinsic value and that they could be mined, when in reality, coins were generated as required, and often not even recorded on any blockchain.

The parties are now being sued on a number of different grounds, including breach of contract, civil conspiracy and fraud, over their role in the scheme, which has left millions of users worldwide significantly out of pocket. None of the three defendants have submitted a response by the deadline, with the clerk of court saying the defaults are “hereby noted.”

The present class action case was first raised back in May 2019, with the nature of the claims since amended on two separate occasions—including one amendment adding Armenta to the case. Armenta was served in December 2020, but has yet to lodge any response before the court.

Founder and self-styled ‘CryptoQueen’ Ruja Ignatova remains at large. She is currently facing a number of criminal charges, after being charged with fraud for her role in the scheme.

Since her disappearance in 2017, authorities have uncovered in excess of $1.5 billion in assets purportedly connected with Ignatova and the OneCoin scam.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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