Business

Ed Drake

$750,000 OneCoin fraud victim files legal action in New York

A victim of the notorious OneCoin cryptocurrency scam has filed a lawsuit in New York, revealing the sheer extent of the losses suffered by those caught up in the scandal.

Lead plaintiff Donald Berdeaux reportedly invested approximately $755,918.92 in the scam between August 2015 and May 2016, funds which have been completely lost as a result of the allegedly fraudulent actions of OneCoin.

The proposed co-lead plaintiff Christine Grablis also lost sums in the six figures, thought to be in the region of $100,000 over a two-year span. According to the documentation, to the best of their knowledge, the co-lead plaintiffs are the largest single investors to have been scammed by OneCoin.

Sofia, Bulgaria-based OneCoin Ltd. has been at the center of a global scandal in recent years, after investors began reporting that they had been victims of fraud at the hands of the cryptocurrency. Labeled by some as a type of pyramid scheme, former OneCoin executive Konstantin Ignatov was detained by U.S. authorities earlier this year.

His sister, Ruja Ignatova, is also named as a defendant in the action, though she has reportedly been on the run since late 2017.

Konstantin Ignatov pleaded not guilty in June to charges of wire fraud, and despite posting a significant bond, bail was denied, with authorities fearing flight risk.

According to the authorities, the OneCoin scam raised as much as $3.8 billion from unsuspecting investors before its collapse, attributed in part to the multi-level marketing component of its model, with investors instructed to sell training materials for trading OneCoin.

The tokens offered represented OneCoin mining credits, with investors promised significant returns on their capital. Despite the high profile and increasingly frequent scam warnings, the scheme continues to operate to this today, with training materials available for sale ranging from $123 to over $66,000.

The matter will now be considered by the court in New York, adding further legal woes on top of the OneCoin founders’ existing troubles. Whether this results in investors seeing any of their money again remains uncertain.  

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