How the Ex-Boyfriend of the ‘Cryptoqueen’ Laundered $300 Million in Stolen Funds
Gilbert Armenta, the former boyfriend of Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen," has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for his involvement in the fraudulent cryptocurrency project OneCoin.
The Ponzi scheme, founded by Ignatova back in 2014, defrauded investors of over $4 billion. The Bulgarian-born Ignatova, who is on the FBI’s ten most-wanted list, has been missing since 2017, and some sources have suggested that she could have been killed.
Armenta’s initial investigation indicated that he could have gone to jail for seven years. However, he pleaded guilty to money laundering, extortion, and committing wire fraud in 2018, resulting in a reduced punishment.
The Southern District of New York (SDNY) Courthouse sentenced Armenta to five years in federal prison for laundering $300 million in proceeds generated from the OneCoin scam.
Matthew Lee, the founder of the public interest organization Inner City Press, shed more light on the case against the defendant. After laundering $300 million, Armenta supposedly purchased luxurious items for himself, such as a jet plane.
He later violated his agreement with the authorities by selling the aircraft and stealing a $5 million check. In addition, Ignatova’s ex-boyfriend bribed Mexican entities and gambled funds stolen from OneCoin investors.
Armenta’s lawyer claimed that his client was not violent, adding that his problems came from the misfortune of entering into a “romantic relationship” with the “Cryptoqueen.” She presumably “drilled into his apartment and hired a couple to live next to him and surveil him.”
Armenta also bought a bank in Georgia, where Ignatova was already a customer. The defendant 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.