Lawyer Mark Scott has been found guilty over his role in the OneCoin crypto scam which stole more than $4bn from thousands of unsuspecting victims throughout the world.
It took a Manhattan federal jury little more than four hours of deliberation before delivering the verdict to an emotionless Scott.
The 51-year-old former BigLaw attorney barely blinked as he stared at the floor of the New York courtroom as US District Judge Edgardo Ramos brought the hammer down on proceedings. Scott then turned to comfort a sobbing family member before being led away.
Sentencing has been set for February 21 2020.
The two-week trial found Scott had been heavily involved with the scheme, despite the protestations from his own lawyers that he believed OneCoin seemed perfectly legitimate.
The jury decided 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.
Following the verdict, prosecutor Christopher DiMase called upon Judge Ramos to jail Scott until the sentencing hearing.
Judge Ramos, however, denied the request. Instead, Scott’s bail conditions were tightened and he was ordered to submit to home incarceration at his family residence in Florida.
DiMase argued that Scott had already violated a court order by recently selling a $250,000 Porsche. He also said there was a strong suspicion that Scott had $25m hidden in Swiss and US accounts that had yet to be traced.
“He committed a crime,” appealed the US Attorney’s Office representative before outlining his concerns over Scott’s connections with Ignatova and that he represented a flight risk.
Waving away DiMase’s fears, Judge Ramos said he did not deem Scott to be a flight risk, stating the defendant had adhered to all his bail conditions.
“I just don’t see Mr Scott as being in the same category [as Ruja Ignatova],” Judge Ramos said.
“The evidence that I saw was fairly overwhelming. Notwithstanding that he was here every day.”
Scott’s lawyer – Arlo Devlin-Brown – closed by announcing his client intended to appeal against the conviction of money laundering.
Additional reporting credit: Pete Brush, Law360 – https://www.law360.com/articles/1221988