US authorities arrest and charge new figure in OneCoin scheme — who is William Morro?

The US Justice Department has taken William Morro into custody and brought charges against him for alleged bank fraud linked to the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam.

Based on documents filed on April 23 in the Southern District of New York’s U.S. District Court, it is claimed that Morro handled the transfer of approximately $35 million from OneCoin-related funds from Chinese bank accounts to a Hong Kong account in the year 2016. The updated accusation further states that Morro shifted over $6 million from this U.S.-controlled account in Hong Kong into one under his ownership, as part of an intricate plan to deceive.

US authorities arrest and charge new figure in OneCoin scheme — who is William Morro?

Morro willingly gave himself up to law enforcement and admitted guilt for one charge of conspiring to defraud banks. He’s currently out on bail, awaiting a sentencing hearing slated for August 1st. Authorities have also included an order forfeiting any assets linked to the OneCoin case in question.

Reports indicated that there were links between Morro and Gilbert Armenta, the former boyfriend of OneCoin’s founder Ruja Ignatova. In 2023, Armenta was given a five-year prison term for his involvement in laundering approximately $300 million tied to the OneCoin scam. Morro is known as a managing partner at InterAmerican Group and a member of AEE Power’s board.

It’s uncertain what new information led U.S. officials to file a revised accusation against Morro for his suspected fraudulent activities around eight years ago. The Justice Department has indicted several people in connection with the OneCoin scam, among them lawyer Mark Scott, Irina Dilkinska who used to head legal and compliance, and co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood.

At the time of publishing, Ignatova, alias the “CryptoQueen,” was wanted by the FBI and facing charges in the U.S., with a spot on their top ten most wanted list.

Based on the filings made on April 23rd, Morro hired Mark Cohen and Jonathan Abernethy from the law firm Cohen and Gresser for representation. Notably, Cohen previously defended Sam Bankman-Fried during his criminal trial in 2023. In that case, Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO, was found guilty of seven felonies and received a sentence of 25 years in prison.

Established in 2014, OneCoin was unmasked as a deceitful cryptocurrency scam in the year 2015, swindling investors of approximately $4 billion. For Morro’s part, he faces a potential charge of collusion to commit bank fraud, which may result in a prison term of up to 30 years.

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2024-04-24 19:50