The former head of legal and compliance at OneCoin, the mega digital asset scam that made off with $4 billion, faces 40 years behind bars after U.S. extradition.
The New York U.S. Attorney unsealed charges against Irina Dilkinska this week, charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of money laundering: both carry a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Dilkinska was in charge of compliance at the mega scam. However, rather than ensuring the company complied with the law, she “assisted in the creation and management of shell companies in order to launder OneCoin proceeds and to hold property belonging to (Ruja Ignatova).”
Ignatova is the infamous founder of OneCoin. Known as Cryptoqueen, she founded the scam with Karl Greenwood in 2014, touting it as “the next Bitcoin.” Through a multi-level marketing scheme, she lured millions of investors globally who bought into her financial liberation rhetoric. By the time she was busted, she had raised $4 billion, with some reports saying the number could be as high as $6 billion.
Ignatova disappeared in October 2017 and was last seen boarding a plane in Sofia, Bulgaria, bound for Athens, Greece. There have been reports that she was killed and tossed into the Ionian Sea by one of her business partners.
Unable to track the founder, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a $100,000 bounty for her while authorities have been prosecuting those who played a part in the scam, and Dilkinska is the latest.
The 41-year-old Bulgarian “accomplished the exact opposite of her job title and allegedly enabled OneCoin to launder millions of dollars of illegal proceeds through shell companies. Dilkinska helped perpetuate a wide-ranging scheme with millions of victims and billions of dollars in losses, and she will now face justice for her alleged crimes,” commented U.S. Attorney for New York, Damian William.
In particular, Dilkinska allegedly helped Mark Scott launder $400 million through shell companies in the Cayman Islands. Scott, a now-disbarred New York lawyer who was a partner at Texas-based Locke Lord LLP, was accused of reaping $50 million from his laundering activities. The charges were thrown out by a New York judge on a jurisdiction basis in 2021.
DOJ further claims that Dilkinska destroyed incriminating documents that could have aided the prosecutors in their case against the perpetrators of the scam.
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