Onecoin Head of Legal and Compliance Charged for Role in Crypto Pyramid – A 41-year-old woman, Irina Dilkinska, has been charged by U.S. judicial and law enforcement officials for her involvement in Onecoin, which is considered one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams in history. Dilkinska was brought back to the United States from Bulgaria, where the fraudulent crypto Ponzi scheme was headquartered.
Onecoin, which was founded in 2014, operated a worldwide multi-level-marketing network and presented a counterfeit digital currency with the same name. It was marketed as a potential rival to Bitcoin, being referred to as ‘the Bitcoin killer’ at one point. Onecoin claimed that by the end of 2016, over $4 billion had been invested in the supposed cryptocurrency by more than 3 million individuals, as per their promotional materials.
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As per a statement released by the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday, Dilkinska was purportedly the leader of the legal and compliance division at Onecoin. However, officials allege that her actions were the complete opposite of what her job title implied. She is accused of enabling Onecoin to launder millions of U.S. dollars through shell firms.
“As alleged in the charges unsealed today, Dilkinska helped her co-conspirator, Mark Scott, launder approximately $400 million in Onecoin proceeds,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll noted. Bulgarian nationals established companies which were also utilized to retain assets for Ruja Ignatova, the mastermind and founder of Onecoin, who is a German citizen of Bulgarian origin. On October 25, 2017, Ignatova was last observed boarding a flight bound for Athens from Sofia.
Ignatova, also known as the “missing Cryptoqueen,” disappeared within two weeks of being accused of fraud and money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is currently wanted by Interpol, Europol, and the FBI. Reports from Bulgarian media suggest that she may have been murdered in 2018.
On the other hand, Irina Dilkinska has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years. She is accused of destroying evidence after Scott’s arrest in 2018, which she communicated to Ruja’s brother, Konstantin. Ignatov, who was detained in Los Angeles in 2019, pleaded guilty to Onecoin-related charges and requested witness protection in the United States.
In December 2022, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a co-founder of Onecoin from Sweden and the UK, pleaded guilty. In addition, Gilbert Armenta, Ruja’s former boyfriend, was sentenced to five years in prison last month for his involvement in laundering proceeds from the crypto Pyramid. The charges against Irina Dilkinska, the former head of legal and compliance at Onecoin, mark another step in the fight against cryptocurrency fraud.
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The Onecoin scam, which promised to be a rival to Bitcoin, turned out to be one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, defrauding millions of individuals out of billions of dollars. The allegations against Dilkinska, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, demonstrate the lengths that some individuals will go to in order to perpetrate fraud.
The prosecution of those responsible for Onecoin sends a strong message to the crypto community that such actions will not be tolerated. It is a reminder to investors to exercise caution and conduct thorough due diligence before investing in any cryptocurrency.