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The Only Woman On The FBI's Most Wanted List Is Accused Of Founding One Of 'The Biggest Scams In History'

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The Only Woman On The FBI's Most Wanted List Is Accused Of Founding One Of 'The Biggest Scams In History'

Sitting alongside nine men on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list is Ruja Ignatova, the only woman on the list and the alleged founder of a fake cryptocurrency known as OneCoin.

Ignatova was added to the notorious list on 30 June 2022, after going missing in 2017, when US officials signed a warrant for her arrest.

The Bulgarian woman is believed to be in her 40s and became a target for authorities due to her alleged involvement with OneCoin, which in 2014 began encouraging customers to sell the cryptocurrency to more people with the promise they would receive commission.

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The Most Wanted listing claims Ignatova 'allegedly made false statements and representations to individuals in order to solicit investments', and instructed victims to send wire transfers to OneCoin accounts in a bid to buy packages.

 Ruja Ignatova has been added to the FBI's list due to her alleged role in OneCoin. Credit: FBI
Ruja Ignatova has been added to the FBI's list due to her alleged role in OneCoin. Credit: FBI

She is accused of serving as the leader of OneCoin until October 2017, when she travelled from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece. It is possible she then moved on elsewhere.

In 2019, Ignatova was charged with eight offences including wire fraud and securities fraud for running OneCoin Ltd as a pyramid scheme. The cryptocurrency was found to be worthless, according to the FBI, and investors across the globe lost more than $4 billion as a result.

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Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, accused Ignatova of having 'timed her scheme perfectly', noting that it came amid 'the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency'.

Ignatova is described on the Most Wanted List as having dark brown or black hair and brown eyes, though the FBI notes she 'may have had plastic surgery or otherwise altered her appearance'.

The agency is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Ignatova, who is believed to travel with 'armed guards and/or associates'.

Ignatova has been missing since 2017. Credit: FBI
Ignatova has been missing since 2017. Credit: FBI
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The alleged scammer may travel on a German passport to the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, Greece and/or Eastern Europe, according to the FBI, and anyone who may have tips about her whereabouts is encouraged to contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

Ignatova is one of just a few women to have ever made the FBI's most wanted list, with other women including Ruth Eisemann-Schier, who buried a woman alive after kidnapping her with her boyfriend, and Marie Dean Arrington, who escaped from prison after killing her former public defender's secretary. 

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Shutterstock

Topics: News, Cryptocurrency, Crime, US News, Technology, World News

Emily Brown
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