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OneCoin Co-Founder Receives 20-Year Prison Sentence in US: A Major Blow to Fake Cryptocurrency

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A Co-Founder of OneCoin Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for $4 Billion Fraud


A federal judge in New York sentenced the co-founder of the purported cryptocurrency OneCoin to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for what prosecutors called a $4 billion fraud.


U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan sentenced Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a dual citizen of Sweden and the United Kingdom, who pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges in December 2022.

Forfeiture of Funds

Judge Ramos also ordered Greenwood to forfeit $300 million.

Detention and Extradition

Greenwood has been detained in New York since his 2018 arrest in Thailand and extradition to the United States over his role in promoting OneCoin.

Prosecutors’ Claims

  • Prosecutors had sought a sentence of at least 30 years for Greenwood.
  • They said Greenwood was OneCoin’s “primary promoter” who touted it as the next Bitcoin.
  • OneCoin was actually a pyramid scheme that defrauded at least 3.5 million people.

Defense’s Request

Greenwood’s attorneys had asked for a sentence of time served, citing harsh conditions during his detention.

OneCoin’s Founding

Greenwood founded OneCoin in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014 alongside Ruja Ignatova, a German citizen who prosecutors say is also known as the ‘Cryptoqueen.’

The FBI named her to its top ten most-wanted list last year.

Ignatova’s Whereabouts

Ignatova remains at large, prosecutors said.

Attorney’s Response

An attorney for Greenwood declined to comment.

Upcoming Trial

The sentence comes as prosecutors in Manhattan gear up for the trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from the November 2022 collapse of his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange.

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