The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is attempting to confiscate almost $400 million from the attorney who helped the crypto fraud scheme OneCoin launder hundreds of millions of dollars.
The US District Court judge responsible for sentencing Mark Scott, who was convicted last November, has been asked to impose a forfeiture money judgment for the amount. Scott is to be sentenced on October 9.
From 2015 to 2018, Scott created bogus investment funds for OneCoin that laundered $392,940,000. This is what the DoJ is attempting to reclaim. The bogus funds received money from shell corporations linked to OneCoin, which was then transferred out as loans – which were not repaid – or sent to bank accounts. Some of the accounts were linked directly to Ruja Ignatova, the OneCoin founder, who disappeared in 2017. Scott transferred $50 million to himself.
OneCoin is estimated to have taken more than $4 billion from investors. Scott was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
With the DoJ attempting to freeze Scott's assets until he forfeits the near $392.9 million he laundered for OneCoin, he stands to lose a vast array of high-value assets; including a number of properties, cars, jewellery and a yacht. He also faces up to 50 years in prison.
The situation facing him is a stark reminder of the role and responsibilities of professionals in the legal industry. As lawyers, we are also officers of the court who must abide by the law –and that obviously includes complying with anti-money laundering regulations.