Gilbert Armenta, the ex-boyfriend of fugitive Rija Ignatova famously known as cryptoqueen, was slapped with a 5-year jail term for his involvement in laundering money from investors of their scam project, OneCoin.
According to the court, Armenta actively participated in defrauding investors of billions of dollars. In 2018, he pled guilty to all charges against him, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Prosecutors say the jail term could have been shorter. However, they claim that while Armenta agreed to help authorities investigate OneCoin, he continued to commit additional crimes, forcing them to seek a longer prison term.
Cryptoqueen and Her Scam Coin
Launched in 2014, OneCoin was touted by Ignatova and her associates as a digital currency that could potentially transform the financial sector. Further, they alleged that the coin was backed by gold reserves and used a better blockchain technology than Bitcoin.
Ignatova convinced several investors that OneCoin would become the world’s most valuable digital currency. She even promised huge guaranteed profits for those who bought the coins, and they would also earn commissions for inviting new investors.
Nonetheless, it was discovered that OneCoin was not built on any blockchain, nether was it actual crypto. As a result, investors collectively lost billions of dollars to the project’s founders. Many have described OneCoin as one of the most sophisticated frauds witnessed in recent years.
In a span of two years, OneCoin had managed to defraud millions of people about $4.1 billion. Armenta’s sentencing is a relief for these investors who have yet to receive their funds back.
FBI Adds Cryptoqueen to Its ‘Most Wanted’ List
Labeled by BBC as ‘the Woman who scammed the globe,’ Ignatova was last seen in Athens, Greece, back in 2017. There have been reports that she could be hiding in the Mediterranean Sea, living in a luxury yacht she bought with the stolen money.
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has been looking for the cryptoqueen and has placed her among the top 10 most wanted fugitives. Additionally, the agency has offered a $100,000 bounty for anyone with information that can lead to her arrest.
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