U.S. federal court unseals indictment against OneCoin pyramid scheme co-founder

U.S. prosecutors indicted a key figure in the OneCoin digital currency pyramid scheme on wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering charges, according to a newly-unsealed complaint.

Karl Sebastian Greenwood was indicted in February 2018, according to court documents. OneCoin, a now-infamous investment scam, was perhaps the most notable of a slew of digital currency-focused pyramid schemes to emerge in the past five years. Greenwood was apprehended in November of that year, according to a report by the Bangkok Post.

The indictment accuses Greenwood of conspiring to defraud would-be investors into buying OneCoin packages, which promoters claimed could then be used to "mine" OneCoins. As with many pyramid schemes, the goal of participants was to sell those packages and bring new participants into the scheme.

According to the court documents, such efforts brought in "over $1 billion of investors funds" between 2014 and January 2018. 


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As prosecutors wrote:

"...GREENWOOD, and others working on his behalf, made and caused to be made false statements and misrepresentations soliciting individuals throughout the world, including in the Southern District of New York, to invest in 'OneCoin' a purported cryptocurrency, and instructed individuals to transmit investment funds to OneCoin depository accounts in order to purchase OneCoin packages, thereby causing individuals to send interstate and international wires representing their OneCoin investments, and resulting in the receipt of over $1 billion of investor funds into OneCoin[-]related bank accounts."

As reported by BehindMLM.com, Greenwood's pretrial conference is scheduled for June 3. 

Other figures, including ringleaders Ruja Ignatova and Konstantin Ignatov, have been indicted by U.S. officials, though Ignatova – the so-called "Cryptoqueen" remains at large. Ignatov was arrested in March 2018 at the time of his indictment.

“As alleged, these defendants created a multibillion-dollar 'cryptocurrency' company based completely on lies and deceit. They promised big returns and minimal risk, but, as alleged, this business was a pyramid scheme based on smoke and mirrors more than zeroes and ones," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said at the time.