A Former Partner at a U.S. Law Firm Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Involvement in a $400 Million Cryptocurrency Scheme

A Former Partner at a U.S. Law Firm Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Involvement in a $400 Million Cryptocurrency Scheme

Manhattan federal prosecutors have announced the sentencing of Mark Scott, a former partner at the U.S. law firm Locke Lord, to 10 years in prison for his role in a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme worth $400 million. On Thursday, the sentencing took place, and Scott was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in November 2019 in connection with the OneCoin cryptocurrency fraud.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ordered Scott to forfeit a staggering $392,940,000. This includes the surrender of various assets such as bank accounts, a yacht, two Porsche automobiles, and four real estate properties. The significant confiscation of Scott’s ill-gotten gains serves as a punitive measure to deter others from engaging in similar fraudulent activities.

According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, Scott, now 55, residing in Coral Gables, Florida, achieved his financial success through deceit and fraudulent means. Williams emphasized that Scott amassed a fortune of $50 million by age 50, but the source of this wealth was fraudulent activities. The sentencing to a decade in prison and the forced forfeiture of all illegal proceeds reflect Scott’s deceptive actions and the need for justice.

Prosecutors revealed that Scott’s involvement in the cryptocurrency scheme began in 2015 when he was introduced to Ruja Ignatova, co-founder of OneCoin, famously known as the “Cryptoqueen.” During the course of his participation, Scott played a crucial role in the establishment of fake investment funds. These funds were instrumental in laundering millions of dollars of fraud proceeds in 2016. Scott personally received over $50 million for his active involvement, which he utilized to acquire luxurious assets including high-end vehicles, a yacht, and multiple seaside homes.

In a brief filed on Friday, Scott’s defense sought a five-year prison term, portraying him as a “broken man” who had endured four years of home confinement. However, prosecutors pushed for a more severe sentence of at least 17 years. They highlighted Scott’s greed and discontentment, despite already leading a luxurious lifestyle as a partner at a prestigious law firm.

It is notable that earlier in November 2020, Scott was disbarred by a New York state appellate court. This disbarment further demonstrates the legal repercussions faced by individuals involved in fraudulent activities.

While Mark Scott now faces the repercussions of his actions, it is essential to acknowledge the imprisonment and asset forfeiture of another co-founder of the OneCoin scheme. Karl Sebastian Greenwood received a 20-year prison sentence and was ordered to forfeit $300 million in September. The significant penalties for both Scott and Greenwood underscore the seriousness and magnitude of their fraudulent activities.

However, one key figure remains at large. Ruja Ignatova, the mastermind behind the OneCoin scheme, continues to evade capture. Her elusiveness led to her inclusion in the FBI’s top 10 most-wanted list in 2022, indicating the authorities’ determination to bring her to justice.

The sentencing of Mark Scott to 10 years in prison and the confiscation of nearly $400 million in assets mark a significant blow against fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes. The case serves as a stark reminder that those who engage in deceptive practices to accumulate wealth will ultimately face severe consequences. As the pursuit of justice continues, it is crucial to hold all individuals accountable for their involvement in such fraudulent activities to protect unsuspecting investors and ensure the integrity of the cryptocurrency industry.


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