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OneCoin’s Legal Head Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison for $4 Billion Crypto Fraud

In a recent development in the notorious OneCoin Ponzi scheme, Irina Dilkinska, 42, has faced the consequences of her involvement in one of the largest fraudulent schemes to hit the cryptocurrency world. On Wednesday, US District Judge Edgardo Ramos sentenced Dilkinska to a prison term, rejecting her plea to return home to Bulgaria to care for her two young children. Highlighting her intelligence and potential awareness of the fraudulent nature of her actions, Judge Ramos emphasized that Dilkinska should have recognized and withdrawn from the criminal activities sooner. Despite her request for leniency based on her custody conditions and the care of her children, Dilkinska was ordered to pay a staggering $118.4 million in restitution, reflecting the scale of the financial damage caused by the scheme.

Dilkinska’s sentencing sheds light on the broader implications of the OneCoin scandal, a $4 billion international Ponzi scheme that lured investors with the false promise of a lucrative cryptocurrency. Instead of delivering a functional digital currency, OneCoin operated by offering commissions to members for recruiting others to invest in worthless packages, enriching the scheme’s architects at the expense of countless victims worldwide.

The mastermind behind OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, known as the “Cryptoqueen,” vanished in 2017 as the scheme unraveled and was later placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives list in 2022. Co-founder and chief promoter Karl Sebastian Greenwood received a 20-year prison sentence in September, underlining the judicial system’s commitment to holding key figures accountable.

Prosecutors highlighted Dilkinska’s role in assisting Mark Scott, a US-based lawyer and former partner at Locke Lord LLP, to launder $400 million of OneCoin proceeds. Scott, who was convicted of money laundering in 2019, also faced a 10-year sentence, underscoring the extensive network of individuals involved in facilitating this massive fraud.

Dilkinska’s plea for compassion cited the harsh conditions of her pre-sentence detention in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, known for its poor conditions and treatment of inmates. While Judge Ramos acknowledged the need for some leniency, the sentencing reflects a strong stance against financial crimes and the individuals who perpetrate them, serving as a cautionary tale for those tempted by the allure of quick riches in the volatile world of cryptocurrency.



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