OneCoin – the cryptocurrency investment scheme accused by the U.S. of being a Ponzi-type scam – may escape from a class-action lawsuit due to procedural mishaps by the lead plaintiffs.
Brought in mid-2019 by investors who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to the scheme, the complaint accuses the heads of OneCoin, including “Crypto Queen” Ruja Ignatova and Konstantin Ignatov, of promoting fraudulent cryptocurrency investments and violating federal securities laws.
However, the federal judge presiding in the case in the Southern District of New York court said the lead plaintiffs, Christine Grablis and Donald Berdeaux, have not been filing the agreed monthly updates on their efforts to serve court papers to all the listed defendants.
District Judge Valerie Caproni warned in an opinion and order filed on Friday that Grablis and Berdeaux “must show cause no later than April 16, 2020, why this case should not be dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).”
Caproni also “sternly warned” the lead plaintiffs could see sanctions if they fail to comply with court orders going forward.
Last March, U.S. prosecutors in New York officially charged OneCoin’s Ignatova and Ignatov, saying the project stole “billions” from investors through its alleged cryptocurrency pyramid scheme.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted the pair on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering at the time. However, while Ignatov was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport the same week, the scheme’s founder, Ignatova, is still at large.