Irina Dilkinska, who reportedly served as “Head of Legal and Compliance” for the supposed crypto project, pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering on Nov. 9 in a Manhattan federal court.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.
OneCoin, founded in 2014 by Ruja Ignatova and Karl Sebastian Greenwood, operated as a global multi-level-marketing (MLM) network based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The cryptocurrency claimed to offer lucrative yields based on the amount of tokens users held on a phony platform.
OneCoin managed to dupe millions of people worldwide, with victims investing over $4 billion in the fraudulent scheme.
Head of legal and compliance
Dilkinska’s guilty plea reveals her complicity in facilitating the laundering of millions of dollars in illicit profits accrued through OneCoin’s MLM structure.
Despite her role as “Head of Legal and Compliance,” Dilkinska actively participated in the day-to-day operations of OneCoin, including orchestrating the transfer of $110 million in fraudulently obtained proceeds to a Cayman Islands entity.
“As OneCoin’s so-called ‘Head of Legal and Compliance,’ Irina Dilkinska accomplished the exact opposite goal of her position. The dedicated prosecutors of this Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue this important case until every defendant is brought to justice.”
Dilkinska pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The maximum potential sentence for these charges is five years in prison each.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2024.
Crypto Queen remains at large
The allegations against OneCoin detail a pyramid scheme that attracted over three million investors worldwide between 2014 and 2016.
During those years, OneCoin reported sales revenue of €4.037 billion and earned “profits” of €2.735 billion. The scheme was eventually shut down after droves of victims began reporting the project to local authorities, and multiple governments stepped in to shut down OneCoin’s operations.
Ignatova, the self-proclaimed “Crypto Queen,” had already vanished before she was charged with fraud and money laundering by U.S. authorities in 2017 and remains at large. Her whereabouts are unknown.
Media reports in 2022 claimed that Ignatova may have been assassinated off the coast of Greece by a Bulgarian drug lord who was also involved with the project behind the scenes. However, the claims were never substantiated due to the questionable veracity of the evidence in the case.
The FBI continues to seek information about the whereabouts of Ignatova, who is on the Top Ten Most Wanted List, with a $100,000 reward for information leading to her arrest.