Jennifer McAdam had a long career in the marketing industry before launching her own consultancy working with IT companies throughout Scotland and abroad. Since 2016 she has worked full-time through her online Victims’ Support Group to fight for retribution for the OneCoin fraud.
Below, Jennifer shares 5 key insights from her new book, Devil’s Coin: My Battle to Take Down the Notorious OneCoin Cryptoqueen. Listen to the audio version—read by Jennifer herself—in the Next Big Idea App.
1. It started with a dream.
In 2016 I first heard about OneCoin, a digital cryptocurrency that was taking over the rest of the world—or so it seemed. I was informed that Dr. Ruja and her OneCoin digital currency was a financial revolution and would soon be the global number one cryptocurrency due to its market capitalisation and the wild and evermore OneCoin growth worldwide.
It felt to me like an investment opportunity too great to miss, as I had previously missed out on the Bitcoin early adopter stage. Through the fear of missing out and the current dire financial situation I found myself in, I felt OneCoin was the answer to all my prayers and dreams. OneCoin seemed like the means to a more secure financial future for my family. This was especially important to me because I was living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, never knowing how long I would be around in this world. Elated, I invested in OneCoin. It seemed like a dream come true.
2. The horror soon followed.
The €10,000 I invested into OneCoin was inheritance money from my dad, who had died the year before at the age of 92. He died peacefully, knowing that through his cold, dark, and dangerous work as a coalminer, he had saved money to leave his family. I felt that my dad would have been so happy I had invested that money into OneCoin and not frittered it away. My investment provided a comforting feeling, especially while coping with the grief of losing my beloved dad.
As a single teenage mother, money worries had always been at the forefront of my mind. Now at the age of 46 and suffering from a debilitating illness, those financial worries and stresses lay heavily on my shoulders once again. Alas, I ecstatically thought they had gone forever when I invested in OneCoin; finally, I could breathe and rest peacefully.
“Our total loss, in the end, was $300,000.”
Sadly, that amazing feeling only lasted a few months before the reality of OneCoin hit, and my investment of €10,000 euros disappeared. What’s worse is that my family and friends also invested alongside me. Our total loss, in the end, was $300,000.
In reflection, it felt as though I was living the best dream ever and then took a step through a sliding door and entered the realms of a hellish nightmare. The horror of it was learning that OneCoin was indeed a fake cryptocurrency, the biggest fake cryptocurrency fraud to date. The founder Ruja Ignatova and OneCoin were connected to an Eastern European Criminal Network. The global financial loss from this fraud totals nearly $27 billion worldwide from three million investors.
3. Fight back.
The immense shock of it all literally took my legs from beneath me. All of my investment money was lost alongside all my hopes and dreams. The reality numbed me to the very core and to this day, I find it difficult to revisit that time. A variety of emotions and feelings flooded over me in huge relentless waves. One minute I felt hopeless, sad, then depressed, lonely, guilty, regretful, and even accepting. Due to losing both my parents, I recognized quite quickly how similar this was to the different stages of the grieving process.
Days and weeks later, I began to warn as many people as possible that OneCoin was a fraud. In the midst of this, I received a threatening defamation legal letter from the law firm Carter Ruck. The letter arrived on behalf of their clients Ruja Ignatova and OneCoin Limited. It was sent legally to scare me into silence. As I read the letter, all of those horrible grieving emotions overwhelmed me again, but this time with fear and panic added into the mix. How could this be happening? It just doesn’t make any sense, I thought, the criminals are protected legally and the victims are silenced! Ruja paid for her legal advice, her legal team’s time, and the defamation letter with money that she fraudulently stole from the victims.
At that moment, the last grieving emotion to hit me was an almighty thundering of anger. I had no more tears to cry. It was at this point I decided I was not going to be silenced and lay in my losses, suffering with grief. I was going to use all of my energy and strength to fight back for victims’ justice and money. That really was the point of no return. From then on, I walked forward in the journey toward justice.
4. The roadmap to justice.
An upbringing in the Scottish ancestry of attitude means that you speak out and stand up for what is right, fair, and just. After death and sexual violence threats started to become more frequent, I stood up and I spoke even louder. I founded OneCoin victim supports groups on WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook. I also began speaking out publicly on Twitter and within all of the OneCoin Victim Global Support Groups. Those support groups initially only had a few victims within them, and today there are now over 10,000 worldwide victims. I then began working with a global network of OneCoin exposers who were not victims but were already working with worldwide police authorities.
I sent out the OneCoin victim support group links to authorities and journalists worldwide. It felt important for them to see and hear the sufferings of the victims. Alas, in the beginning, every door to help and support was slammed shut. There were many ongoing walls of silence. Through frustration, I began to speak even louder where I could, raising as much attention as possible until finally, the story reached a higher level of global media. Finally, a bigger audience could hear the story of the hellish, heinous, and cruel multi-billion-dollar global OneCoin fraud.
“This is where the OneCoin brainwashing began, as fake articles and disinformation were spread through these fake victim groups.”
The global network of exposers I worked with also spoke out where and whenever they could. We alerted the police and the financial banking authorities worldwide with information on Ruja and her OneCoin fraud. Within the OneCoin Victim Support Groups, constant authoritative and worldwide information was shared with the OneCoin victims. Many victims in those groups were in shock, denial, and pain. Some of them were even suicidal.
As the truth came out, OneCoin denied or withheld much of this new information from their own WhatsApp groups. This information, of course, was filtered OneCoin information straight from Ruja. This is where the OneCoin brainwashing began, as fake articles and disinformation were spread through these fake victim groups.
It was important to remind everyone who was in the real victim support groups to be kind to the victims who had just recently joined and those who were still in a state of shock and disbelief. There were many more victims and a range of constantly changing emotions. As a leader of this movement, the best I could do was remain empathetic, understanding, and supportive and keep the group members positive. We had to stay hopeful that one day, justice would come our way. Hope, faith, and belief were all we had.
5. Don’t back down.
The most important thing for me was to not back down. It’s the most important thing I have learned. If you are able, you have to stand against injustice and face the bad guys. If we don’t, millions of others will suffer. Look at OneCoin: someone, somewhere in the world is, at this moment, being robbed by the scam created by Dr Ruja Ignatova. Her OneCoin sales force will, without a glimmer of humanity, be stealing a family’s future, a child’s education fund, the cost of life-saving hospital treatment, or, as likely, the money to pay for tonight’s dinner.
That’s why I put my life on the line. That’s the power we have as individuals, the power to fight back.
To listen to the audio version read by author Jennifer McAdam, download the Next Big Idea App today: