The office door of OneCoin in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2016.
The office door of OneCoin in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2016. Image: Ronny Martin Junnilainen / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Associate of ‘Cryptoqueen’ fraudster arrested and brought to US

A Bulgarian woman accused of assisting in the massive OneCoin cryptocurrency scam has been extradited to the U.S. to face charges of fraud and money laundering in a New York federal court Tuesday.

Irina Dilkinska, 41, was head of “legal and compliance” for OneCoin, but “accomplished the exact opposite of her job title and allegedly enabled OneCoin to launder millions of dollars of illegal proceeds through shell companies,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

OneCoin, which prosecutors characterized as a pyramid scheme that took in $4 billion from victims, was co-founded by Ruja Ignatova, who remains at-large after being charged in 2017 with fraud and money laundering. The other co-founder, Karl Greenwood, pleaded guilty to similar accusations in New York in December.

Igntavoa’s story was the focus of a BBC podcast series, “The Missing Cryptoqueen.” The FBI is offering a $100,000 award for information that leads to her arrest. Rumors about Igntavoa’s whereabouts continue to surface, including reports that she was murdered in 2018.

Dilkinska’s job at OneCoin was to assist “in the creation and management of shell companies in order to launder OneCoin proceeds and to hold property belonging to Ignatova,” prosecutors said. One example was a scheme to launder about $400 million in OneCoin proceeds “through a series of fake Cayman Islands investment funds” operated by Mark Scott, a lawyer who was convicted in 2019 of bank fraud and money laundering.

Dilkinska used a shell company called B&N Consult EEOD that “did not generate legitimate income” to launder OneCoin proceeds as part of that case, prosecutors said.

OneCoin marketed itself as the “bitcoin killer” but the reality was that the currency was “entirely worthless,” Williams said after Greenwood was convicted last year. The Sofia, Bulgaria-based company used a global multi-level marketing (MLM) plan to bring in customers, prosecutors said.

Bulgarian authorities and the Criminal Investigation unit of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service assisted in the Dilkinska case. The wire fraud and money laundering charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.

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Joe Warminsky

Joe Warminsky

is the news editor for Recorded Future News. He has more than 25 years experience as an editor and writer in the Washington, D.C., area. Most recently he helped lead CyberScoop for more than five years. Prior to that, he was a digital editor at WAMU 88.5, the NPR affiliate in Washington, and he spent more than a decade editing coverage of Congress for CQ Roll Call.