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Cryptoqueen's Founder Sentenced to 20 Years in Jail for a Fake Cryptocurrency Scheme

Read also: US and UK sanction 11 Russians in connection with Trickbot malware, Football Leaks hacker escapes jail term, and more.


Thursday, September 14, 2023
Views: 5.7k Read Time: 3 min.

Cryptoqueen's Founder Sentenced to 20 Years in Jail for a Fake Cryptocurrency Scheme

Cryptoqueen’s accomplice gets 20 years in the US prison over OneCoin fraud

Karl Sebastian Greenwood has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in the US over his involvement in the infamous OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme that sold a fake cryptocurrency by the same name.

Together with Ruja Ignatova, known as “Cryptoqueen”, Greenwood founded Sophia-based OneCoin in 2014. Over the years, the scheme tricked millions of victims into investing over $4 billion in fraudulent crypto coins.

Greenwood was arrested in 2018 in Thailand and later extradited to the US where he was charged with fraud and money laundering. In addition to his prison sentence, he was ordered to forfeit around $300 million. Ignatova was charged in 2017 with fraud and money laundering, she currently remains at large. In 2022, Ignatova was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List, with the agency offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to Ignatova’s whereabouts.

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Five foreign nationals arrested in Thailand over $27M crypto scam

Authorities in Thailand arrested four individuals from China and one suspect from Laos in connection with a multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency scheme that defrauded over $27 million worth of Thai baht from thousands of locals.

A fraudulent cryptocurrency investment platform, operated by BCH Global Limited, deceived victims into believing they were investing in gold and Tether USDT before stealing their money. A police investigation revealed that many people behind BCH were involved in other fraudulent schemes.

All suspects were charged with a conspiracy to commit a transnational crime, public fraud, money laundering and falsifying information. The authorities also seized properties worth 585 million baht (~$16 million) the suspects owned.

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Entrepreneur sentenced in the US over $93M hack-and-trade scheme

Vladislav Klyushin, a Russian tech tycoon with ties to the Kremlin, was sentenced in the US court to nine years in prison for his involvement in an elaborate $93M hack-and-trade scheme, which relied on the secret corporate information obtained through the hacking of US computer networks.

Klyushin, who owned a Moscow-based technology firm that worked with the Russian authorities, and his co-conspirators compromised the corporate networks of two unnamed US-based filing agents and stole quarterly and annual earnings reports for hundreds of companies, including Tesla, Roku and Snap. The insider information was then used to make lucrative trades. Klyushin is said to have netted more than $34 million in the scheme.

Klyushin was arrested in Sion, Switzerland in March 2021 and extradited to the US in December 2021. In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to forfeit over $34 million and pay restitution. His alleged associates -  Ivan Ermakov, Nikolai Rumiantcev, Mikhail Irzak and Igor Sladkov - remain at large.

US, UK sanction 11 Russians in connection to Trickbot malware

The US and UK authorities sanctioned 11 Russian nationals believed to be part of the Trickbot cybercrime group blamed for multiple attacks against government entities, private companies and critical infrastructure and healthcare providers worldwide.

Targeted individuals include key figures involved in administration, development and recruitment of new members for the Trickbot group believed to have ties to Russian intelligence services.

At the same time, the US Department of Justice unsealed charges against nine Russians linked to Trickbot and Conti ransomware operations - the latter of which was disbanded last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the leak of the group’s internal messages and ransomware source code.

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Football Leaks hacker escapes jail term

Rui Pinto, the 34-year-old Portuguese national behind the Football Leaks website that leaked more than 70 million documents exposing dodgy practices in the global football industry, has been given a four-year suspended sentence by a Lisbon court.

The man was found guilty of five counts of illegal access to computers, three counts of intercepting correspondence for accessing emails, and one count of attempted extortion.

The Football Leaks founder was arrested in Hungary in January 2019 on suspicion of extortion and illegally accessing information but was set free in August 2020. His trial began in September 2020. In July 2023, Pinto was charged with additional 377 offenses in a new case, including unlawful access, violation of correspondence, and computer damage. This case has yet to go to court.

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Key Dutch has been working in information technology and cybersecurity for over 20 years, starting his first job with Windows 95 and dial-up modems. As the Editor-in-Chief of our Cybercrime Prosecution Weekly blog series, he compiles the most interesting news about police operations against cybercrime, as well as about regulatory actions enforcing data protection and privacy law.
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