Over time, the world has experienced fraudsters from all walks of life. Some were killed, some were caught by the authorities, and some, as you are about to find out, vanished into thin air (quite literally). Ruja Ignatova was a good dancer who knew when to leave the stage. She hatched a plan, executed it to perfection, and left. Even though what she did is a vice worth the strongest condemnation, you can’t help but marvel at her audacity. Here are some mind-blowing Ruja Ignatova facts you probably didn’t know.
1. Ruja Ignatova Is the Infamous Cryptoqueen
Ruja Ignatova is a Bulgarian woman accused of wire fraud. She founded OneCoin, a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme hatched to con people worldwide. When she was 10, she and her family immigrated to Germany, where she spent most of her childhood. In 2014, through OneCoin, she created a Ponzi scheme that blew up and placed her as the queen of cryptocurrency, the infamous “cryptoqueen.”
2. She Promised Investors Their Money Will Grow Fivefold to Tenfold
After creating OneCoin in 2014, Ruja Ignatova embarked on a journey to market her services. She toured Europe, New York City, and other places where she would most likely find lucrative customers. Her company used the Multilevel marketing technique, allowing her to reach more potential customers quickly. According to court documents, she convinced OneCoin buyers that they would get a fivefold to tenfold return on their investment.
3. OneCoin Was Supposed to Be Bitcoin’s Competitor
It’s hard to talk about cryptocurrency and fail to mention Bitcoin, an innovative payment network and a modern type of money. So, when Ruja Ignatova presented her company as Bitcoin’s competitor, she had the attention of the world’s biggest investors. Today, OneCoin’s servers remain closed while its owner is on the run.
4. She Was a Master of Her Craft
As Karl Sebastian Greenwood, one of OneCoin’s cofounders, continues to serve his 20 years behind bars, prosecutors are convinced that Ruja Ignatova knew all along she was scamming people and had her plans laid out.
At one point, when she was at the peak of her fraudulent career, Ruja Ignatova walked onto the stage of a filled auditorium wearing a flowing high end gown. As the beams of light flashed and fireballs erupted on her, the speakers were booming to Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.” At that point, the investors present were “sold.”
5. Ruja Ignatova “Vanished” in 2017
After catching wind that the authorities were on her radar, Ruja Ignatova “vanished” in October 2017, leaving her company and accomplices behind. The last official details show she flew from Bulgaria to Greece. From there, all the authorities have is a list of potential places she might be, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Eastern Europe, and Germany. More than six years later, no one knows where she went.
6. She Is Among the FBI’s Most Wanted List
For her troubles, Ruja Ignatova is among the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ most wanted fugitive list. She is accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. At the time of writing, the FBI is offering up to $250,000 for information that will lead to Ruja Ignatova’s capture. She is the only woman on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.
7. Her Brother Was Arrested in 2019
While the cryptoqueen remains at large, her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, was arrested, charged, and pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges in 2019.
8. Several Accounts of What Might Have Happened to Her Are Available
After Ruja Ignatova’s disappearance, several accounts of what might have happened to her have surfaced. The authorities are convinced she might have done a facelift, and with her money, buying friends and resources wasn’t hard. Others say that she was killed by a vengeful drug baron. In contrast, some say she is back in Europe, where she recently purchased a property for her company.
9. Her Academic Qualifications Are Questionable
Ruja Ignatova claimed she studied at the University of Oxford in England. However, there are no records of her ever being there, no details of her enrollment date, course pursued, or college attended. She also presented herself as a professor; records show she earned her PhD in private international law from the German-based University of Constance.
10. Ruja Ignatova Has Inspired Several Documentaries and Films
For her exploits between 2014 and 2017, Ruja Ignatova has inspired several films and documentaries. The most prominent one is the Crypto Queen documentary. It features Todd Phillips as One Coin Promoter, while Jonathan Levy and Timothy Curry play themselves.
11. Ruja Ignatova “Warned” Her Victims
Estimates show that people who invested in OneCoin lost over $4 billion within three years of its “existence.” In an event hosted at the SSE Arena, Wembley, London, in 2016, Ruja Ignatova remarked that nobody will be speaking about Bitcoin anymore in two years. The crowd clapped and cheered, not knowing they were being played.