Gilbert Armenta, the former boyfriend of Ruja Ignatova (also known as the “Cryptoqueen”) will reportedly spend five years in jail for participating in the fraudulent cryptocurrency project OneCoin. The scheme, founded by Ignatova in 2014, defrauded investors out of over $4 billion. Armenta pleaded guilty to money laundering, extortion, and wire fraud in 2018, resulting in a reduced sentence. He was found to have laundered $300 million in proceeds and purchased luxurious items for himself, such as a jet plane. He also violated his agreement with the authorities by selling the aircraft and stealing a $5 million check.
Ignatova is currently on the FBI’s ten most-wanted list and was last seen in 2017 in Greece. There have been rumors that she could have been killed. Earlier this year, a penthouse worth nearly $15 million that Ignatova had purchased several years ago re-appeared on the London house market, suggesting that she may still be alive. The asking price was later reduced to around $13 million, and the property is no longer listed for sale.
The OneCoin scheme involved investors buying “educational packages” for digital asset trading that cost from 100 euros to 118,000 euros. Along with their purchase, people also received OneCoin tokens that could be exchanged for fiat on a specially designed internal marketplace. The authorities of Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, and Croatia all warned people to stay away from the project.
Armenta asked to serve his sentence in FCI Miami Federal Prison, a low-security correctional institution for male inmates. The magistrates are yet to decide whether to approve that request. Meanwhile, the FBI is still offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who provides information regarding Ignatova’s whereabouts.