Source: Svetoslav Radkov/Adobe
Founders of the infamous OneCoin cryptocurrency scam have been sentenced to several years in jail by a German court.
A German court in Münster on Monday handed down sentences to key accomplices involved in the OneCoin crypto fraud case.
The couple Frank Ricketts and his wife Manon Hubenthal, along with a Munich-based lawyer, were convicted of amassing approximately €320 million from nearly 90,000 OneCoin victims across Europe. Their lawyer, Martin Breidenbach, was accused of transferring €20 million to accounts abroad with false data.
Frank received a 5-year jail term, whereas his spouse Manon, was sentenced to 4 years. Their lawyer received a 2-year and nine-month prison sentence.
Per German media reports, the court ordered the seizure of assets from each defendant. Manon was ordered to pay €43,500, while Frank needed to pay nearly €1.2 million. Apart from that, the lawyer was asked to pay €627,000.
The couple entered into a contract with Ruja Ignatova, often referred to as ‘crypto queen,’ who spearheaded the OneCoin operation.
Ruja purportedly attracted investors through grand events organized between 2014 to 2016 and she stands as one among the FBI’s top 10 most wanted fugitive list. She has also been wanted by Interpol since 2017.
In June 2023, reports circulated that Ruja was killed by a drug lord in Greece while on board a yacht. The murder is however said to have happened in November 2018.
Per the reports, infamous drug lord Hristoforos ‘Taki’ Amanatidis murdered Ruja to cover up his involvement in the OneCoin scam. Her body was allegedly tossed into the Ionian Sea, off the coast of Greece.
However, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation website still carries her profile and has announced a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to her arrest.
OneCoin is considered one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams so far, raising around a total of $4 billion. The unraveling of the scam began after suspicions were raised in 2016.
After thorough investigations, it was found that transactions totaling 320 million euros were transferred within a week, with the couples benefitting millions in commission.
Further, the US Department of Justice in June 2023 filed charges against Irina Dilkinska, a Bulgarian woman involved in the OneCoin crypto Ponzi scheme.
She was charged with wire fraud and money laundering, each of which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
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