FBI adds 'Cryptoqueen' Ruja Ignatova to 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 01, 2022

For only the 11th time in its 72-year history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation added to its most-wanted list a woman whose accused of defrauding investors of more than $4 billion through a cryptocurrency company.

Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen," was added to the agency's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list on Thursday.

Ignatova is currently the only woman on the list.

According to the FBI, Ignatova co-founded OneCoin in 2014, which was promoted as a company that was the “Bitcoin killer."

Investigators said the 42-year-old and others marketed the Bulgaria-based company through a multi-level marketing strategy soliciting investors to give her billions of dollars, preying on those who may not have fully understood the ins and outs of cryptocurrencies, but were impressed by her resume and the company's marketing strategies, the agency said in a press release.

“OneCoin claimed to have a private blockchain,” said Special Agent Ronald Shimko. “This is in contrast to other virtual currencies, which have a decentralized and public blockchain. In this case, investors were just asked to trust OneCoin.”

On Oct. 12, 2017, a federal warrant was issued for her arrest.

The agency said that Ignatova might have been tipped off that U.S. and international authorities were investigating her. She was last seen on October 25, 2017, after traveling from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece.

In February 2018, she was indicted with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud, the FBI said.

The FBI has offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to Ignatova's arrest.