OneCoin is back in the limelight once more, as two of the scam operations promoters have died. Earlier this week, industry news source Cointelegraph en Espanol reported that Oscar Brito Ibarra and Ignacio Ibarra, two of the major promoters for the $4 billion scam, had been found dead.
Coincidence of Retaliation?
Both men had made a name for themselves for promoting OneCoin as a means of making payments at the Latin American Automotive Marketing Company — a local car company that they owned. La Tercera, a local news source, explained on Saturday that law enforcement agents had found the men’s bodies stuffed into suitcases and left at a vacant lot.
The men had been kidnapped before the report, although it’s unclear whether there was a police-sanctioned search. As La Tercera confirmed, examinations showed that the two men died by suffocation.
It’s unclear whether disgruntled OneCoin victims had kidnapped them or if it was just a random crime. Mexico is known to be one of the worst crime hotspots in the world, with the Washington Post reporting earlier this year that the country had five thousand people kidnapped in 2019 without being returned. At the same time, OneCoin’s profile as a scam operation has become rather popular as well. The men’s kidnapping could be retaliation for their crimes.
Updates on OneCoin’s Affiliates
While their end was much worse, both men are just the latest in the string of OneCoin affiliates to meet unfortunate fates. Earlier in the month, Fok Fook, a 52-year-old Singaporean, got a guilty verdict for operating a multi-level marketing (MLM) scam linked to OneCoin.
A report from local news source Channel News Asia explained that Fok promoted his MLM between January 2016 and June 2017. He got a charge under Singapore’s Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling Prohibition Act. Fok promoted his MLM scheme through social media and online seminars, using some large-scale events to get more buyers.
The court proceedings are still ongoing for one of his partners. However, he got a fine of 100,000 Singapore dollars (about $72,000). As for the company’s top brass, not much has occurred in terms of sentencing. In April, Judge Edgardo Ramos of the New York Southern District Court granted the request to reschedule the sentencing of Mark Scott, a lawyer affiliated with the company.
Scott laundered $400 million for OneCoin and was found guilty of money laundering in November. He has so far tried to significantly fight his verdict, basing his rebuttal on the lack of credible evidence against him, particularly from people affiliated with OneCoin. He also claimed not to have been aware that OneCoin was a scam until May 2018.
In March, however, the U.S. government filed its opposition to Scott’s motion. The government asserted that Scott had known about his $50 million profit from assisting OneCoin’s operation and laundering the $400 million. Scott used his earnings to purchase luxury vehicles, a yacht, and several waterfront properties.
However, his sentencing hasn’t been possible just yet. The court also adjourned the sentencing of Konstantin Ignatov, the brother of OneCoin’s founder, Ruja Ignatova. Ignatova herself fled her Bulgaria home in 2017 and remains at large.