In a significant development, a U.S. judge has denied a request for a new trial by Mark Scott, a lawyer implicated in the laundering of $400 million from the notorious OneCoin crypto pyramid scheme. This ruling paves the way for the sentencing of the 54-year-old Scott, despite revelations of a key prosecution witness, Konstantin Ignatov, admitting to lying in court. Mark Scott had been accused of playing a pivotal role in Onecoin’s fraudulent activities.
Investors lost $4 billion in the OneCoin scam
Prosecutors alleged that he earned $50 million by establishing a fictitious investment fund that was used to process funds acquired through the Onecoin scam. The Onecoin scheme, led by the elusive “Cryptoqueen” Ruja Ignatova, managed to defraud investors worldwide, amassing a staggering $4 billion. Scott, a former partner at the law firm Locke Lord, was found guilty in November 2019 for his involvement in the money laundering scheme.
He used the illicitly obtained funds to finance a lavish lifestyle, which included purchasing expensive properties in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, luxury goods, cars, and even a substantial yacht. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, in a recent decision, rejected Scott’s plea for a new trial. The judge stated that he was not convinced that an innocent person might have been wrongfully convicted, even though Konstantin Ignatov, one of Onecoin’s co-founders, had testified falsely during the trial.
Konstantin Ignatov, who had assisted Ruja Ignatova in orchestrating the fraud, was apprehended in Los Angeles four years ago. He subsequently pleaded guilty to charges related to Onecoin and sought witness protection in the United States. In exchange for his cooperation, Ignatov agreed to testify against Mark Scott. Scott’s defense team had sought a new trial, citing alleged legal errors during the initial proceedings and presenting evidence of Ignatov’s false testimony.
The Judge is set to move forward with sentencing after the dismissal
Judge Ramos acknowledged that prosecutors did not dispute Ignatov’s dishonesty during his testimony. With the denial of a new trial, Mark Scott is now set to face sentencing. In response to the ruling, Scott’s attorney, Arlo Devlin-Brown, expressed disappointment, emphasizing the “undisputed evidence” that the government’s main cooperating witness had perjured himself. Devlin-Brown also indicated that his client intends to appeal the decision.
The Onecoin crypto pyramid scheme enticed victims by offering them the opportunity to invest in a fictitious cryptocurrency bearing the same name, which was once promoted as the “Bitcoin killer.” Onecoin was launched in 2014 and operated as a multi-level marketing scheme. Ruja Ignatova, the mastermind behind Onecoin, was last seen in 2017 and remains missing. Meanwhile, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, another co-founder of Onecoin, was recently sentenced to a 20-year prison term in the United States.
The U.S. judge’s rejection of Mark Scott’s request for a new trial marks a crucial development in the Onecoin crypto pyramid scheme case. Despite witness testimonies marred by falsehoods, Scott now faces sentencing for his involvement in the laundering of millions of dollars from the fraudulent scheme. The Onecoin saga serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with cryptocurrency-related scams and the importance of holding those responsible accountable for their actions.