Concern is growing that convicted OneCoin scam lawyer Mark Scott is masterminding a plot to evade jail as he awaits sentencing for his involvement in the $4bn fraud.
Scott had been due for a preliminary sentencing hearing earlier this week ahead of a scheduled sentencing listed for February 21. This now looks likely to be moved to late April.
After being found guilty in November, Scott was allowed to return to Florida under house arrest, despite the protestations of prosecutor Christopher DiMase who called upon sitting US District Judge Edgardo Ramos to jail Scott until the sentencing hearing.
Judge Ramos denied the request, stating he felt 51-year-old Scott posed no flight risk.
Rumours have since emerged that the former attorney has been seen out in Florida enjoying dinner with friends – some of whom may be assisting with a plot to defer sentencing and buy time to bring forth a case for either a reduced jail term or even no custodial sentence.
It seems a far cry from the sentiments of a two-week trial that found Scott had been heavily involved with the fraud, despite his own lawyers stating he believed OneCoin seemed perfectly legitimate.
The jury took just four hours to decide he was entirely responsible for routing a staggering $400m out of the US as he actively worked to hide the source and ownership of the money.
State prosecutors estimated he personally pocketed around $50m from the laundering.
Scott was arrested in 2018 following investigations into OneCoin’s activities which began a year after its founder and CEO – self-proclaimed ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova – disappeared from her luxury home in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Despite pleas from victims to hand herself in, Ignatova remains on the run.
Her younger brother – Konstantin Ignatov – was also found guilty as a co-conspirator.
His sentencing was deferred after he agreed a plea bargain to assist investigators find more accomplices and offer any leads to his sister’s whereabouts.
Before agreeing to the deal, the 33-year-old was facing up to 90 years in jail.
No such deal
Mark Scott, meanwhile, was offered no such deal. Instead, his counsel was explicitly instructed to prepare for sentencing.
However, in a letter to Judge Ramos from his lawyers, it would appear the convicted money launderer is looking to push back sentencing.
The letter references “long-standing medical issues”, which some observers claim is part of a blatant attempt to put the wheels in motion to avoid a prison sentence.
The letter states:
“Re: United States v Mark S Scott, S10 17 Cr 630(ER).
“Dear Judge Ramos: We write on behalf of our client, Mark Scott, who was convicted on November 21, 2019 in the above-referenced matter on two counts, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
“At the conclusion of trial, sentencing for Mr Scott was scheduled for February 21 2020.
“However, the current deadline for Mr Scott to file any Rule 29 and Rule 33 motions is February 3 2020, and the Government has been given until February 24, 2020 to respond.
“In light of these upcoming deadlines, we respectfully request that the Court adjourn the sentencing date until April 21 2020 or such date thereafter that is convenient for the Court. This will grant time to complete briefing on post-trial motions and provide the Court with an opportunity for review.
“In addition, this additional time will permit counsel to prepare for sentencing, including allowing for Mr Scott to undertake further testing and treatments for longstanding medical issues.”
According to sources at Inner City Press in New York, it is understood that Judge Ramos has provisionally approved the request to defer sentencing until Wednesday April 22 2020.