Even if you’ve not heard, let alone heeded, the warnings of the grown-ups in the room, even if you’ve somehow missed all of the practical examples of why you should be extra super-duper careful before trading your actual money for some newfangled intangible imaginary money, we’re have hoped that the exception boldness of OneCoin’s value proposition might have aroused some skepticism in even those lacking in any common sense at all. But we would be wrong.
The Justice Department said OneCoin accounts show it took in some $4 billion from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2016, sucking in investors from Africa to the U.S., Venezuela to China…. Ruja Ignatova, a 40-year-old Bulgarian, started OneCoin in 2014 with Mr. Greenwood. Unlike more established cryptocurrencies, OneCoin wasn’t actively traded. The coins couldn’t be used to buy anything. Their price was determined solely by Ms. Ignatova, who promised big financial rewards. Federal prosecutors would later allege that OneCoin was less of a cryptocurrency and more of a pyramid scheme, where money from new purchasers would flow up to Ms. Ignatova and others who sold the currency in the early days.
You don’t say. Well, anyway “Dr. Ruja,” as she liked to be called, is gone, and with her went something like half-a-billion dollars worth of OneCoin adepts’ money. That is probably never coming back. But her brother and alleged co-conspirator’s whereabouts are known, as he’s awaiting sentencing for the above—somewhat amazingly, we have to say.
Mr. Ignatov said he was kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to the suburbs of Bulgaria’s capital where he was beaten and his finger broken. “I was told if Ruja disappeared with the money, that these people would come back and kill me,” he said. Months later, he said, he received a call from a man identifying himself as a high-ranking member of the Hell’s Angels summoning him to a meeting in Zurich….
A meeting he surely couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to have attended after the Sofia episode. Right? RIGHT?
…where he said in court testimony that a gun was stuffed in his mouth and his life threatened.
OneCoin Took In Billions. Then Its Leader Vanished. [WSJ]