May 25, 2024
New Figure in OneCoin Scheme Arrested by US Authorities
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New Figure in OneCoin Scheme Arrested by US Authorities

William Morro has been arrested and charged by the United States Justice Department for bank fraud linked to the OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme. As per filings on April 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Morro stands accused of transferring $35 million in OneCoin-related funds from Chinese bank accounts to one in Hong Kong in 2016.

Source: PACER

Indictment and Allegations

The superseding indictment alleged that Morro moved over $6 million from the Hong Kong account to a U.S. account. He controlled as part of a scheme to defraud. However, William Morro surrendered voluntarily to authorities and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He has been released on his recognizance until a sentencing hearing scheduled for Aug. 1. So, Justice Department officials issued a forfeiture order concerning the illicit assets involved in the OneCoin case.

Reports suggest that Morro was connected to Gilbert Armenta, the boyfriend of OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova. Armenta was sentenced to five years in prison in 2023 for his involvement in laundering approximately $300 million related to the OneCoin scheme. Morro’s roles include managing partners at the InterAmerican Group and board membership at AEE Power.

Legal Representation and Background

William Morro retained Mark Cohen and Jonathan Abernethy of the law firm Cohen and Gresser, according to the April 23 filings. Cohen, known for representing Sam Bankman-Fried during his 2023 criminal trial, is renowned in legal circles. In Morro’s case, a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud could result in a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Legal Action Against OneCoin Scheme

Founded in 2014, OneCoin was exposed as a fraudulent crypto scheme in 2015, defrauding investors of roughly $4 billion. So, the Justice Department has brought charges against several individuals involved in the scheme. Which includes lawyer Mark Scott, former head of legal and compliance Irina Dilkinska, and co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood.

Ignatova, dubbed the ‘CryptoQueen,’ faces charges in the U.S. but is still evading capture, listed among the FBI’s top ten fugitives. The specific reason that prompted U.S. officials to bring a superseding indictment against Morro remains unclear. Which is approximately eight years after the alleged fraudulent actions. However, this development underscores ongoing efforts to pursue justice in connection with the OneCoin scheme.

Photo by RDNE Stock project

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