The case against a lawyer allegedly involved in handling the proceeds of crypto scam OneCoin got underway this week, in the latest enforcement action against participants in the scheme.
Lawyer Mark Scott is being tried in a court in New York, accused of routing some $400 million out of the United States illegitimately, BBC reported. According to the allegations, Scott concealed the true ownership of the funds, as well as the source of the money transferred overseas, which prosecutors allege was in an attempt to launder proceeds from the scam.
He is also accused of spending some of the proceeds on personal assets, including a yacht, a Ferrari and three sprawling luxury mansions.
Prosecutors say Scott’s salary as a partner in his law firm, in the hundreds of thousands per year, was only a “fraction of the money he was paid to launder OneCoin fraud scheme proceeds.”
Scott’s lawyers intend to argue that the crucial question is whether he was aware that OneCoin was a criminal enterprise, pointing to evidence that he asked a colleague to investigate whether OneCoin was “a pyramid scheme” before working for the company.
Scott is on trial charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, charges which would be expected to carry a custodial sentence.
According to New York State Attorney’s Office, OneCoin used fabricated promises of spectacular returns to solicit investment in their scheme, describing the price of OneCoin as “a fiction.”
OneCoin used the success story of Bitcoin to induce victims to invest under the guise that they, too, could get rich through their investments… This was, of course, completely false because the price of OneCoin was a fiction and not based on supply and demand.
Mark Scott joins other individuals involved in OneCoin in facing legal action, including alleged founder Konstantin Ignatov and co-founder Sebastian Greenwood. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
The company behind OneCoin, based in Bulgaria, continues to deny any wrongdoing, saying, “OneCoin verifiably fulfils all criteria of the definition of a cryptocurrency.”
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