U.S. Authorities Arrest William Morro for Role in OneCoin Scheme

Key Insights:

  • William Morro was implicated in transferring $35 million related to the OneCoin scheme to Hong Kong.
  • U.S. prosecutors have accused Morro of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, facing up to 30 years in prison.
  • Morro voluntarily surrendered and pleaded guilty, with his sentencing scheduled for August 1.

U.S. prosecutors have charged William Morro with conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with the notorious OneCoin cryptocurrency fraud. According to filings in the Southern District of New York on April 23, Morro is accused of maneuvering vast sums of money across international borders to disguise their fraudulent origins.

In 2016, Morro reportedly facilitated the transfer of $35 million in funds linked to OneCoin from accounts he controlled in China to one in Hong Kong. Moreover, documents reveal that he moved over $6 million from the Hong Kong account to another under his control in the United States. These funds were part of a larger strategy to deceive financial institutions about their true source.

Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney, emphasized the severity of Morro’s actions in his statement. “William Morro received and transferred substantial amounts of money derived from OneCoin, deliberately concealing their fraudulent origin from the banks,” he noted.

Additionally, Morro has connections to other significant figures within the OneCoin network, including Gilbert Armenta, boyfriend of OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova, and a key figure in the laundering activities associated with the scheme. This network of deception contributed to OneCoin’s ability to operate its fraudulent activities under the guise of a legitimate cryptocurrency enterprise.

The charges against Morro come as part of a broader investigation into OneCoin, which was founded in 2014 by Karl Sebastian Greenwood and Ruja Ignatova. Despite marketing itself as a revolutionary cryptocurrency, OneCoin was exposed as a pyramid scheme in 2015, leading to billions in investor losses. Greenwood was captured and sentenced, while Ignatova remains at large, having vanished in 2017.

In addition, according to a report by CryptoForPidgin, Bulgarian citizen Irina Dilkinska, who previously served as the head of legal and compliance for the project, recently received a four-year prison sentence for her involvement in the operation.

Legal representatives for William Morro, Mark Cohen, and Jonathan Abernethy, known for high-profile defense cases, have yet to release a statement regarding his plea. Morro’s guilty plea suggests possible cooperation with federal authorities, potentially leading to further indictments within the OneCoin conspiracy.

Morro’s case highlights the ongoing challenges in regulating and policing cryptocurrency-related fraud. It also underscores the global nature of such schemes, which often involve multiple jurisdictions and complex financial maneuvers to obscure the flow of illicit funds.

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