Prosecutors recommend at least 17 years in prison for OneCoin lawyer

The United States Attorney’s Office has suggested a minimum 17-year sentence was “fair and appropriate” for a lawyer responsible for money laundering through the OneCoin crypto scheme.

In a Jan. 19 filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams recommended “a sentence of at least 17 years” for Mark Scott, a lawyer who laundered millions of dollars through OneCoin. According to prosecutors, Scott “chose to work full time” laundering funds for “Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova, who co-founded OneCoin with Karl Sebastian Greenwood in 2014.

“[Scott] engaged in incredibly serious and sophisticated criminal conduct, conduct for which he has failed to accept responsibility and for which he has not shown an ounce of remorse,” said the Jan. 19 filing. “His punishment must match the seriousness of his crime.”

Jan. 19 filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Source: PACER

Prosecutors cited evidence that Scott knew OneCoin was a fraud scheme but “repeatedly and regularly lied and falsified documents” related to his connection with the firm and Ignatova. They alleged he used his status and knowledge as an attorney to “shield his illegal communications” with Ignatova from law enforcement, and that a minimum 17-year sentence was an appropriate deterrent based on Scott’s “abhorrent” conduct:

“Deterring would-be money launderers, who can often participate in schemes like this at a safe distance from the day-to-day operation of the fraud scheme itself, is critical. Without money launderers like Scott, schemes like the OneCoin scheme would falter and fail.”

The OneCoin lawyer was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in November 2019. According to the U.S. attorney, Scott’s legal team proposed a sentence of five years in prison.

In September 2023, Greenwood was sentenced to 20 years in prison on fraud and money laundering charges and ordered to pay $300 million in restitution to OneCoin victims. Irinia Dilkinska, the former chief compliance officer at OneCoin, pleaded guilty to two felony counts in November 2023, with sentencing scheduled for February.

Although implicated in the scheme, Ignatova remains at large at the time of publication. She is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Ten Most Wanted List for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud.

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