In a pivotal decision on Sept. 18, United States District Judge Edgardo Ramos rejected a motion for a new trial from Mark Scott, the 54-year-old lawyer implicated in the $400 million OneCoin fraud case. Scott had been convicted of money laundering and bank fraud conspiracy in November 2019. Despite a government witness perjuring themselves during the original trial, Judge Ramos remained unpersuaded that “an innocent person may have been convicted.”
Significantly, Scott claimed he was unaware that OneCoin was a sham operation when he helped set up the fund that laundered money for its elusive founder, Ruja “Cryptoqueen” Ignatov. His legal team has been tirelessly working to secure a new trial based on false testimony from Konstantin Ignatov, a government witness and Ruja’s brother. Konstantin admitted to assisting his sister in the fraudulent scheme.
However, the motion for a new trial was denied, deepening the controversy. Scott’s attorneys announced plans to appeal, expressing disappointment over the court’s decision. They emphasized that their client deserved a new trial, especially considering the government’s key witness lied under oath.
Moreover, OneCoin’s disturbing history continues to unravel. Launched in 2014, it masqueraded as a cryptocurrency akin to Bitcoin. Yet, it was later exposed as a pyramid scheme, seducing new investors with false promises of astronomical profits. Scott allegedly funneled $50 million from the scheme to finance an extravagant lifestyle, including purchasing multimillion-dollar homes, sports cars, and even a 17-meter yacht.
Additionally, on Sept. 12, another key player, OneCoin’s co-founder Karl Greenwood, was sentenced to 20 years on multiple charges, including fraud and money laundering. Ruja Ignatov remains at large and has secured a place on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, having disappeared in October 2017.
Hence, denying Scott’s motion for a new trial adds another layer of complexity to an already intricate web of deceit. Not only does it raise questions about the fairness of the judicial system, but it also serves as a harsh reminder of the pitfalls and dangers lurking in the largely unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. Consequently, this case will remain a focal point in ongoing debates about the need for stricter regulation and oversight in the crypto industry.