Home » Ruja Ignatova, Anna Sorokin and the world of scammers

Ruja Ignatova, Anna Sorokin and the world of scammers

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While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has already added the name of OneCoin scam queenpin Ruja Ignatova, aka Crypto Queen aka Ruzha Plamenova Ignatova in its Most Wanted list, there are dozens of scammers like her, who still are continuing to scam people through MLM, Ponzi and crypto scams such as Jorge Sebastiao (Jorge Sebastião) aka Nuno Jorge Da Cruz Sebastiao, Saif Al Naji, YEM Foundation, YEM coin, Bank Bene Merenti, EcoX, Dan Settgast, OnPassive, and Ashraf Mufareh aka Ash Mufareh.

While people who had been scammed by Ruja Ignatova are looking for arrest of this notorious woman, some journalists are comparing Ruja Ignatova with Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey, a con artist and fraudster who posed as a wealthy German heiress to access the upper echelons of the New York social and art scenes from 2013 to 2017.

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Born to working-class parents in the Soviet Union, Anna Sorokin (full name Anna Vadimovna Sorokina) emigrated from Russia to Germany with her family in 2007. In 2011, she left Germany to live in New York City in 2013, where she interned for the French fashion magazine Purple. Sorokin conceived of a private members’ club and arts foundation, which included leasing a large building to feature pop-up shops and exhibitions by notable artists she met while interning. She later created fake financial documents to substantiate her claims of having a multimillion-euro trust fund, and forged multiple wire transfer confirmations. Sorokin used these documents, as well as fraudulent checks, to trick banks, acquaintances, and realtors into paying out cash and granting large loans without collateral. She used this to fund her lavish lifestyle, including residencies in multiple upper-class hotels. Between 2013 and 2017, Sorokin defrauded and deceived major financial institutions, banks, hotels, and individuals for a total of US$275,000.

In 2017, the New York Polcie Department (NYPD) arrested Sorokin in a sting operation with the help of her former friend, Rachel DeLoache Williams, whom Sorokin had defrauded of US$57,000. In 2019, Sorokin was convicted in a New York state court of attempted grand larceny, larceny in the second degree, and theft of services, and was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison.

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After serving two years, she was remanded into the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation to Germany. As of September 2022, she is held in a New Jersey county jail while contesting her deportation.

Sorokin’s story gained publicity when Rachel DeLoache Williams wrote a lengthy article in Vanity Fair about her experiences with Sorokin in 2018. She expanded on the story in her 2019 book My Friend Anna. The same year, journalist Jessica Pressler wrote an article for New York about Sorokin’s life as a socialite; Netflix paid Sorokin US$320,000 for the rights to her story and developed it into the 2022 miniseries Inventing Anna. Sorokin’s life story has been the subject of multiple other television shows, interviews, podcasts, and theater productions.

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According to DJ Elle Dee, who was photographed with Sorokin at a party at The Standard, High Line, Sorokin pretended to be a wealthy heiress and bragged about the brands of clothes that she was wearing, but also asked partygoers for a place to sleep. When they declined, she spent the night sleeping in a car. Dee attended multiple events organized by Sorokin where she had invited people, she “barely knew… as if it was maybe the second time they’d ever met, kind of like us. Everyone just sat around, quietly staring at their own phones”. Dee described Sorokin as “entitled and mean – especially to people in the service industry”. Dee also described how Sorokin relied on her and other acquaintances to pay for her expenses by claiming she had forgotten her wallet or that it was an emergency and her credit cards did not work. These expenses ranged from drinks at a bar to hotel stays and flights totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

In 2015, Sorokin met art collector and University of Pennsylvania student Michael Xufu Huang at a dinner party. Learning that Huang planned to attend the Venice Biennale, Sorokin asked him if she could accompany him. Huang agreed and booked a flight and hotel room for Sorokin on the understanding that he would be reimbursed for the US$2,000–US$3,000 cost. On their return to New York, Sorokin appeared to “forget” the arrangement and failed to pay. Huang initially assumed that Sorokin was simply absent-minded.

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In 2015, Sorokin also attended Art Basel in Miami Beach. Sorokin hired a public relations firm to book a birthday party for herself at Sadelle’s restaurant in January 2016; after her credit card was declined and pictures of Huang at the event were posted on social media, Huang was asked by restaurant staff if he had Sorokin’s contact details. At this time, Huang became suspicious of Sorokin, also noticing that she strangely always paid with cash and lived in a hotel, not an apartment. He was eventually repaid but from a Venmo account by an unfamiliar name. He then blocked Sorokin’s access to him on social media, ending their friendship.

In February 2016, while Sorokin was living in a hotel room in The Standard, High Line, she met Rachel DeLoache Williams, then a photo editor at Vanity Fair, at a nightclub. Williams described Sorokin as “demanding and rude to waitstaff” and said that “when an elevator opened, she wouldn’t wait for other people to get off”. Nevertheless, Williams became close friends with Sorokin and was later instrumental in her arrest.

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After going through details of Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey, we can certainly say – she is a con artist and fraudster, but of course, she cannot be in any way compared with Ruja Ignatova. To my understanding, Anna Sorokin was living in fantasy and had committed frauds mainly for actualizing her ambition of enjoying the taste of wealthy lifestyle. But of course, she was not running any scam venture like OneCoin scam kingpin Ruja Ignatova, aka Crypto Queen aka Ruzha Plamenova Ignatova.

Ruja Ignatova, also known as the “crypto queen”, may ring a bell even for non-bitcoin aficionados now that the FBI and Europol has named her among their 10 most-wanted fugitives. The reason? Ignatova is the founder of the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme OneCoin, which has been dubbed one of the biggest scams in history.

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Ignatova, who claimed that OneCoin would rival bitcoin, allegedly led a massive fraud of more than US$4 billion, which has impacted hundreds of thousands of investors worldwide.

Once at the forefront of the bitcoin social scene as a result of her lavish events and extravagant outfits Ignatova vanished into thin air, and has been on the run ever since.

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Born on May 30, 1980, in Bulgaria, Ignatova moved to Germany with her family when she was 10 years old. She earned a law degree from Oxford University and a PhD in private international law from the University of Konstanz in Germany. She also reportedly did a stint at McKinsey & Company. A multilingual individual, Ignatova speaks English, German and Bulgarian.

The 42-year-old Bulgarian got hitched to German lawyer Bjorn Strehl, and the couple had a daughter in 2016.

Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014 when the world was still getting to grips with cryptocurrency. She dressed up in expensive ball gowns and diamonds and held glamorous events across the world – including at London’s huge Wembley Arena – to convince potential investors that her cryptocurrency was the “bitcoin killer”.

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According to Vice, Ignatova lured unassuming victims from 175 countries to her scheme by offering them a commission to invite others. They had no idea that OneCoin didn’t even have a payment system or possess blockchain technology – an essential feature of any cryptocurrency.

Where is Ruja Ignatova now?

There are numerous theories as to where Ruja Ignatova has gone since her sudden disappearance in 2017. While some believe that she has been able to hide in plain sight through plastic surgery, the FBI suggests that she may be travelling with armed guards and associates.

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As an investigative journalist, my opinion is – Ruja Ignatova is using a passport issued by a Caribbean island country giving her a new name. Those who know me are aware of the pattern of my investigations and gathering information. Already several sources are providing scoops or information on the current status of Ruja Ignatova, which shall be revealed only when things are fully validated, and cross-checked. We certainly want Ruja Ignatova to be punished.

Crypto world crowded with notorious scammers

People in the crypto world are aware of the name ‘Binance’. We already are getting solid information which evidently proves – Binance is directly collaborating dangerous crypto-scam rackets. Here is just one small example of many.

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According to a news dated June 10, 2021, Nimbus DeFi, a company that has swindled 136 million Euros in Spain. According to a report published in Spanish newspaper Cronica Business Jorge Sebastião (Jorge Sebastiao), CEO of Nimbus Defi has cheated 136 million Euros from people by giving them false hopes through fake cryptocurrency.

On September 13, 2022, Jorge Sebastiao has launched another fraudulent entity named ‘EcoShuMi Foundation’, which is believed to be a massive fraudulent preparations eyeing on the ‘Dubai Metaverse Assembly’, an event organized by His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.

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In the website of ‘EcoShuMi Foundation’, an internationally known scammer like Jorge Sebastião (Jorge Sebastiao) has used names of many individuals with the ulterior motive of giving legitimacy to this fraudulent venture, and it is anticipated that a large number of people, whose names are mentioned in the website of ‘EcoShuMi Foundation’ may not either know the actual background of people behind this fraud project or may have given consent to use their names without due diligence.

We definitely are demanding an explanation from Binance authorities as to why they had included a scam venture like Nimbus in their network. Due to this affiliation with Binance, scammers Jorge Sebastião (Jorge Sebastiao) was able to announce stating:

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“Now, users will be able to use the Nimbus bridge to realize cross-chain interoperability between the Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain networks. The official deployment and the token launch of BEP-20 standard GNBU and NBU took place on June 10th.

“Nimbus’s community surpasses 50,000 users and the Platform itself is featured in all top crypto platforms. This suggests that the platform’s expansion is highly demanded. Additionally, BSC integration will allow Nimbus to expand to the Asian region, especially China. Potentially, it could make the Binance listing of NBU tokens easier”.

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Owners of ‘Bianance’ should know, Jorge Sebastião (Jorge Sebastiao) is running another scam project named ‘EcoX’ in Dubai, while he is one of the kingpins of a nefarious scam cartel named YEM Foundation that controls YEM coin and Bank Bene Merenti.

More about Nimbus scam project

A victim of Nimbus fraud racket, LABE Abagados in a statement said:

LABE Abogados is the leading brand in the ranking of Cryptocurrency consultancies in Spain, whose purpose is to fight against deception and scams from new platforms, such as the new pyramid scam of Nimbus Platafornm Ltd. A company registered in Malta which was promoted as great opportunity for users who wanted to be investors in the world economy in an accessible, complete, safe and regulated way. 

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The new technologies department of LABE Abogados has carried out an exhaustive follow-up of the alleged Nimbus Platform scam. For this reason, our specialists have always asked those affected to be cautious until it becomes clear which is the best path to follow in terms of legal action.   

Our recommendation to those affected is to immediately take legal action following specific steps that we set out so that in this way the affected user can recover the investment made, and even obtain benefits from the possible damages that may have been caused to them. 

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“It is estimated that the number of affected could reach 32,000 with damage that could exceed 100 million euros. Those affected are investors in cryptocurrencies.

Jorge Sebastião and his Nimbus scam

Crypto space-focused forensics firm Tulip Research published a comprehensive report whose conclusion declares the Nimbus platform a “classic arbitrage software Ponzi scam”. Jorge Sebastião is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nimbus DeFi.

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On September 14, 2020, BelnCrypto published an investigative article related to Nimbus due to its apparent relationship with Arbistar. It may be mentioned here that, Arbistar has been charged as a Ponzi scam with a class action lawsuit.

Tulip Research reaffirmed the suspicion, describing point by point the irregularities of the Nimbus company, from its operations, through its funds, to regulatory warnings from competent entities such as the CNMV.

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Research published by Tulip Research described the company behind the Nimbus platforms as Nimbus Platform Ltd, whose registration is in Malta.

Its first business model began with a cryptocurrency arbitration service through its Avalon App product. With it, Nimbus intended to provide users who deposited funds on its platform with returns of 7 percent to 15 percent monthly, depending on the amount invested.

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The alarms were heightened when the existence of a Nimbus own token was included, called NMBT, which was intended to be the means by which investors acquired their investment position in Nimbus.

On the other hand, this job acquisition was only possible through a referral, a suspicious feature for a Ponzi scheme.

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According to Tulip Research, the Nimbus scheme collapsed and its investors were left without payments since October 3, 2020.

Given the difficulty in keeping money flowing, Nimbus thought of pivoting its “business system” by taking advantage of the rise of decentralized DeFi platforms.

One of the most radical changes was seen in the way of paying its investors. For this, Jorge Sebastião (Jorge Sebastiao) and his Nimbus DeFI created two new tokens called GNBU and NBU, intended for payments of users according to the amount of money they have entered on the platform.

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It is worth noting that these new tokens would have an unlimited issuance directed by Nimbus, since this company would be responsible for their creation, and therefore, responsible for their functional code.

Nimbus underscored its suspicions when promoting its NBU token with its “listing” on decentralized exchange Uniswap. Actually, in the same way that anyone can create an ERC20 token in a couple on minutes, anyone can create a Uniswap trading pair with any token through a first liquidity pool. In fact, creating a pair on Uniswap required a couple of clicks of a few seconds. This is part of its functionality as a fully decentralized exchange. While entering the NBU-ETH pair on Uniswap, the platform warns that anyone can create an exchange pair without liquidity, making it impossible for someone to buy this token to sell it later.

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In brief, Jorge Sebastião (Jorge Sebastiao) aka Nuno Jorge Da Cruz Sebastiao is a grand scammer, who currently is directly affiliated with Bank Bene Merenti, EcoX, YEM Foundation, YEM coin, ‘EcoShuMi Foundation’ and few more scam projects. Everyone putting their money in these fraudulent ventures would be certainly cheated.

Recently a scam cartel named Bank Bene Merenti that runs fake YEM coin, made an outrageous claim stating: “The YEM Foundation announced which is sovereign recognizes the YEM as its official currency…”.

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In reality, YEM Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Nevada, USA without any physical office. This non-profit does not have any legal right to declare anything as its official currency.

According to information, Bank Bene Merenti and YEM coin cartel is running under the umbrella of another entity named ‘YEM Foundation’, a domestic non-profit corporation registered in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA as a non-profit company. Company Number: E0553072017-8. Native Company Number” E0553072017-8. YEM Foundation does not have its own office in the US. Instead it uses a virtual office address provided by a company named PHYSICALADDRESS.COM.

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Our investigative reporter in the US has already checked every detail of the YEM Foundation, and found that the YEM coin and Bank Bene Merenti scam cartel is using this US non-profit as a shield of their criminal activities. It is also learnt from credible source that hundreds of millions of cheat-fund of Bank Bene Merenti, YEM coin, Dan Settgast, Jorge Sebastiao and other members of YEM Foundation scam ring is secretly deposited in various offshore accounts with the help of the Nevada-based company that provides virtual office address (304 S JONES BLVD, Las Vegas, NV, 89107) to this cartel.

It is also learnt, Jorge Sebastiao, real name Nuno Jorge Da Cruz Sebastiao, a British national is the President of YEM Foundation and one of the top kingpins of the Bank Bene Merenti and YEM coin scam cartel.

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It is easily understood Dan Settgast and Jorge Sebastiao along with other members of ‘YEM Foundation’ are fooling millions of people around the world through a bogus YEM coin as well as a scam vessel named Bank Bene Mereniti.

It may be mentioned further that there is no country or sovereign entity in the world named ‘Bene Merenti’, except for a foundation named ‘Sovereign Order Bene Merenti’, which has no connections or links with the Bank Bene Merenti scam cartel or its bogus YEM coin. ‘Sovereign Order Bene Merenti’ is an association or foundation registered on December 29, 2005 in Riga, Latvia. Its registration number is 40008097119. Its postal address is Lielirbes iela 6 – 92, Rīga, LV-1046 and Certificate of Registration number is B011805, dated July 30, 2009.

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According to Latvian authorities, ‘Sovereign Order Bene Merenti’ organization does not exist since 2019.

In my journalistic career of more than 33 years, I have received many international awards, including ‘Freedom To Write’ award from the PEN USA; ‘Moral Courage Award’ from the American Jewish Committee’; and ‘Monaco Media Award’ from HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco. Our newspaper has been recognized by the US Congress as “Most influential” newspaper back in 2007. As a journalist, I regularly write for many international newspapers and appear on TV shows and reports. What we want to solemnly declare is – during the past twenty-plus years, Blitz has always maintained accuracy while reporting any topic. As we felt, scammers like Jorge Sebastiao (Jorge Sebastião) aka Nuno Jorge Da Cruz Sebastiao pose serious threat to any society, as their lone goal is fooling innocent people and swindling hundreds of millions of dollars through false and blank promises; we sincerely hope, Professor Milan Krajnc will bring the matter of Jorge Sebastiao (Jorge Sebastião) with His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council and authorities concerned in the United Arab Emirates forthwith. Dubai authorities need to initiate immediate investigation into the case of Jorge Sebastiao (Jorge Sebastião) and his cohorts, declare him Persona Non Grata in the UAE and shut-down his fraudulent ventures including EcoX and ‘EcoShuMi Foundation’ for the sake of saving Emirati people in particular and people in other Middle Eastern nations from being scammed by this dangerous fraud cartel.

It may be mentioned here that, a grand scammer Jorge Sebastiao is a partner of another dangerous scam cartel named ‘Bank Bene Merenti’.

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Dan Settgast is one of the kingpins of the scam cartel named Bank Bene Merenti, which has been robbing-off hundreds of millions of dollars through fake YEM crypto by fooling people through false claims and well-orchestrated propaganda. By pretending as an affiliate of the Bank of Japan, this scam cartel is mainly cheating people from Uganda, Ghana, Gabon, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Gambia, Ethiopia, Congo, Sudan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Cameron, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Senegal, Chad, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Guinea, Benin, Burundi, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Togo, Central African Republic, Liberia, Mauritania, Eritrea, Botswana, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Eswatini, Djibouti, Comoros, Cape Verde, Seychelles, as well as South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. According to credible sources, this racket has also expanded network in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, Syria and UAE.

Meanwhile, Dan Settgast, one of the masterminds behind bogus YEM coin and fraudulent Bank Bene Merenti and YEM Foundation is trying to open an office of this dangerous scam cartel in Dubai with the active help of his cohort named Jorge Sebastiao, real name Nuno Jorge Da Cruz Sebastiao, a British national is the President of YEM Foundation and one of the top kingpins of the Bank Bene Merenti and YEM coin scam cartel.

This cartel also has already opened an office of one of its affiliates named EcoX in Dubai.

Frauds and scammers like Jorge Sebastiao (Jorge Sebastião) and his crime gang should not be allowed by any of the Governments in the world to continue their notorious activities. At the same time, we are calling upon the international media to expose fraudulent activities of Jorge Sebastiao (Jorge Sebastião) and other scammers such as Saif Al Nazi (connected to Hamas), YEM Foundation, YEM coin, Bank Bene Merenti, EcoX, Dan Settgast, OnPassive, Ashraf Mufareh aka Ash Mufareh, OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, aka Crypto Queen aka Ruzha Plamenova Ignatova and others.

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