Scott throws Armenta under bus, trots out dumbass defense
In his filed Memorandum in support of post-trial motions, Mark Scott’s attorney claims Scott was ignorant of Gilbert Armenta’s conduct.
He also insists the DOJ failed to provide sufficient evidence of money laundering, despite a jury convicting Scott on all counts.
I’ve titled Scott’s defense as that of a dumbass, as that’s what his attorney is representing he is. Much like Konstantin Ignatov’s attorney referred to him as a “lunkhead”.
Despite co-conspiring with Gilbert Armenta to launder hundreds of millions of euros for OneCoin, Scott’s defense is he was ignorant of fraud – which he pegs on Armenta.
Gilbert Armenta, an alleged co-conspirator, provided his own banks with supposedly inaccurate information about why he, Armenta, was transferring his own money to the BVI-approved Fenero private equity funds managed through Mr. Scott.
There was no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Scott was aware of, much less agreed to, the making of these alleged misrepresentations, and substantial evidence of just the opposite: that Armenta went out of his way to deceive Mr. Scott about the funds he was investing in Fenero.
Part of the DOJ’s case relied on evidence of Scott lying to banks. Scott even went so far as to attempt to stop the DOJ from describing his lying as fraud.
But uh yeah, despite personally meeting with Ruja Ignatova, poor Scotty didn’t know OneCoin was the source of funds laundered through Fenero. It was all Gilbert Armenta.
Scott’s attorney also claims the DOJ
failed to prove that the monies invested in the Fenero Fund were proceeds of a domestic wire fraud scheme at all.
This argument is rooted in OneCoin being
run by people outside the United States and that its product was sold almost entirely to individuals outside the United States.
Such incidental ties to the United States are insufficient under the wire fraud statute, and without a U.S. wire fraud, the funds at issue are not subject to the money laundering statute at all.
Scott is a US citizen and was residing in the US while he was laundering funds for OneCoin. Shock horror that US authorities went after him hey.
Scott’s remaining arguments can be summed up as:
- the DOJ failed to prove funds invested by OneCoin US investors passed through Fenero;
- lack of evidence that Scott knew the 400 million was “from criminal sources”
- that Fenero Funds and all the other shell companies Scott set up were created to conceal the source of invested funds.
Yeah it kinda feels like if any of that was true, Scott wouldn’t have been convicted.
I feel like this sentence explains one of the core problems of Scott’s defense:
Mr. Scott repeatedly insisted that he believed OneCoin to be legitimate, a sentiment he repeated several times on a telephone call with Apex personnel that Apex secretly recorded.
There’s no doubt Scott lied to banks and financial institutions. After the fact though he’s claiming he believed what he was saying. “I was lied to!” if you will.
The thing is, in order to launder money Scott would have had to lie to banks and financial institutions (which he did).
Despite his representations, Scott wasn’t some dumbass off the street. He knew what he was doing and the DOJ’s submitted evidence reflected that.
Furthermore, the jury agreed.
To that end Scott’s attorney claims
the jury instructions on both the bank fraud and money laundering counts were wrong on key points, permitting the jury to convict Mr. Scott based on conduct that would not violate the statutes in question.
Mmmhmmm. Nevermind the same court Scott is appealing to signed off on said jury instructions.
If only there was a process by which defendants could file motions challenging proposed jury instructions.
Scott has asked the court for an acquittal, or in the alternative a new trial. Not really liking his chances but we’ll see how this plays out.
One interesting tidbit from Scott’s filing is the revelation the DOJ let Konstantin use OneCoin funds to pay his legal fees.
The Government recently disclosed – well after trial was over – that the Government apparently permitted Ignatov to use OneCoin-derived funds to pay over USD-equivalent $1.8 million in legal expenses, giving him added incentive to shade his testimony.
Not sure how I feel about that. It’s a lot of money but Konstantin’s testimony was certainly informative.
Mark Scott is currently scheduled to be sentenced on April 21st.
Our next update will probably cover the DOJ’s response to Scott’s filing. If it’s a rehash of arguments already presented in court though, I might just leave an update below.
Don’t you just love it when these criminals start turning on each other? I know I do.
I just love the “Hey, he’s a bigger crook than I am” defense strategy. Isn’t about time for Pike to have his court date set?
I nearly puked. What kind of legal system lets you use stolen money to pay for your defence?
What kind of lawyer & person accepts $ 1,8 million for telling his client to say it’s part of a stolen fortune? What kind of legal system allows secretly recorded phone calls as any kind of evidence?
Scott can’t play stupid, of course he knew. It isn’t like he was working for a couple of provincial ambulance chasers like Shillenberg & Schwank when he got involved.
What are they called now? Oh, SBS Legal. Does that stand for “So Bloody Sorry”?
Better money stolen from get-rich-quick punters than taxpayer’s money, thank you very much.
A defence lawyer, beacuse it’s their job. You might as well ask “What sort of veterinarian puts their hand up a cow’s jacksie?” or “What sort of sewer technician is willing to wade knee-deep through human faeces?”
That said, I can’t be reminded of my favourite quote from Breaking Bad: “You don’t just need a criminal lawyer, you need a criminal lawyer.”
@ Maltthusian. You missed the point.
Somebody in poverty who shoplifted to feed their kids relies on a public defender.
Why should someone who stole millions get a better defence? And at the same time spend money that needs to go back to victims?
The public defender costs the same regardless. You really should think before you post.
How did Mark s Scott pay this defense team?
Also with stolen money. Money he got paid to launder OneCoin money.
He certainly didn’t make 50 million while working honestly as a lawyer.
He got a cut of the money he laundered OneCoin.
Not if they still have enough money stashed away from their shoplifting to pay for their own lawyer, then they’ll be ineglible for legal aid. That is the position Konstantin was in.
I do sympathise with that viewpoint, but why should the taxpayer fund lawyers for scammers who can afford their own representation?
If the choice is between injustice towards failed scammers and injustice towards taxpayers the taxpayer wins.
The Government has unlimited funds so has no excuses if its prosecutors can’t beat Konstantin’s lawyers, even if they were better than public defenders.
The Government needs to ensure it doesn’t even leave a tiny sliver of grounds for appeal on the basis of “the mean ol’ Government stopped me from accessing my money so I could pay for my defence”.
Unfortunately for victims, the need for justice to be done, and justice to be seen to be done, trumps the need to repay whatever’s left of proceeds of crime afterwards.
Public defenders and legal aid are in short supply and should be reserved for those who have no access to funds at all.
@ Malthusian: You have a warped view of justice. It should apply to everyone regardless of who they are, what they stole, whatever. So should the access to defence. Whether I’m Epstein or Joe Schmoe should not make a difference.
The “taxpayer” is irrelevant. Count yourself lucky that you are able to pay taxes and do some travelling and research.
Go to Uganda and explain how nice it is that they sold goats so that Ruja could steal money for handbags but it’s okay as it is saving you tax in the first world.
If I ever steal, I will steal big then. I don’t want you taxpayers getting less bang for your your tax buck. Spending a proceed of crime is criminal
Only way I could see any of this even half way acceptable is if Authorities already have found the private keys to the honey pot of Ruja and her Lieutenants’ bitcoin wallets – which could hypothetically be worth enough now to pay back every dime they stole.
The “Memorandum of Law In Support of Post-Trial Motions” is extaordinaty also in a sense that it’s 12 pages in excess of the Court’s page limitation
They indeed try to prove lots of stuff. Or, perhaps more accurately, complain that something wasn’t sufficiently proven that needed to be proven, according to their understanding and legal theories.
I get the sense that they try desperately to spin some isolated aspects of the case in their favour , arguing for far-fetched interpretation of the law, omitting the larger picture (and much of the evidence).
In addition to throwing him under the buss, Scott’s defense seems to be also claiming that Gilbert Armenta didn’t actually commit a bank fraud (page 17) — a charge Armenta has apparently already plead guilty of.
It raises the guestion that is it the Armenta’s or Scott’s legal team who is doing the legal malpractise. Perhaps Scott’s super-lawyers should have filed a motion for Armenta’s acquittal too. 😉
With regards to bank fraud, Scott seems to be trying many of the same failed arguments as he did previuosly, arguing for narrower understanding of bank fraud.
(This was Government’s response back then: courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nysd.482287/gov.uscourts.nysd.482287.163.0.pdf)
On page 34 there was this:
Is it just me, but if an aspiring partner declares to you as her intent to operate within legal frameworks “as much as possible”, doesn’t that sound kinda alarming, non-comforting and non-reputable?
Think about being an employer looking for a, say, sales person for their product/service, and you see the line “I try to operate within legal frameworks as much as possible” in a job application.. [Hell, somebody should try the “I operate within legal frameworks as much as possible” on a dating profile, and see how it “sets the tone for relationships going forward.” ;)]
What adds to the absurdity of their crucial claim that Scott thought he was dealing with a legitimate business, is that OneCoin’s purported legitimate business activity was nothing more than selling educational packages, using an MLM system.
Now what EU-based company that is only selling what boils down to PDFs, with unremarkable and perfectly innocuous content, would be worried at all about possibly not being ‘legal’ (her scare quotes) in the US, and about operating “as much as possible within legal frameworks”?
Especially when the person who owns and runs that company is a lawyer herself.
At the very least, a very quick glance at OneCoin’s promotional material would have shown anyone that their claimed business activity and what they were actually doing didn’t match at all (it must have been the thinnest, most transparent fake legal veneer in history).
His lawyers want people to believe that somebody like Scott, a full partner in a major law firm, didn’t notice that discrepancy.
I didn’t notice that Ruja even wrote “legal” scare quotes. LOL, another great way for “reputable actors” to “set the tone for relationship going forward”.
But they are not fooling anyone. Even the limited material that we have publically available paints the broader picture of Scott’s deceitful “state of mind”.
Take for example his post-arrest interrogation, in which he is very evasive and cagey about OneCoin-Fenero connection.
Now contrast this with the transcript of Scott’s phone call with Apex (quoted on page 6 of the Post-Trial motion document):
In the post-arrest interrogation Scott claims that he stopped doing business with IMS Marketing after he found out about its connection to OneCoin, but in his Apex phone call he uses the same German firm as an argument for OneCoin’s legitimacy in trying to manipulate Apex accepting dirty OneCoin money.
Scott’s lawyers are trying to argue that the Apex phone call shows that his “state of mind” was that he genuinely believed in OneCoin. What it actually shows is Scott’s deceitful nature.
Whatever you say Josef. Spending proceeds of crime is indeed a crime which is why Konstantin was arrested.
If by “same access to defence” you mean that the legal industry should be nationalised and everyone should get lawyers funded by the taxpayer to ensure everyone gets the same standard, that is not going to happen in any capitalist country.
Nor will the taxpayer stump up for people who can afford their own lawyers.
It has happened. In much of Europe, Japan too, the ultimate career path is to work for the state if you are a lawyer.
Nobody should have any advantage because they stole more.
The legal industry in Japan is not nationalised. Nor is it in any European state I am aware of, though Europe is a big place with a lot of backward ex-communist states, so feel free to name any countries where defendants are not allowed to pay for their own choice of lawyer.
Given that Konstantin has sung like a canary, Scott has been convicted and everyone else sought by the DOJ is on the run (or in a barrel filled with concrete at the bottom of the Danube) rather than letting their expensive lawyers face down US prosecutors, I can’t see why you are specifically concerned about OneCoin perps using stolen money to hire better lawyers than everyone else.
Naturally an expensive lawyer is more likely to get you found not guilty than a cheap / free one, whether you’re guilty or innocent, that’s why they’re paid the big bucks.
However there is no reason to believe anyone from OneCoin is going to be able to escape justice by hiring good lawyers. Even the best lawyers can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
The $2 million Konstantin spent on legal fees is a drop in the ocean compared to the $3-billion-odd stolen by OneCoin. It isn’t going to make much difference to any redress for victims. It does however ensure that justice has been seen to be done.
Where did I say “nationalised”? My point is that public defenders are incentivised and paid well and encouraged to work without seeing it as a stepping stone.
Frequently the legal systems in Europe are inquisitorial not accusatory. If 2 million is a drop in the ocean, you need that Africa trip.
In OneCoin Case Now David Pike Charged With Bank Fraud For Scrubbing Ruja Ignatova Name.
Pike’s case is now US v. Pike, 17-cr-630 (Ramos)
According to Inner City Press’s Patreon account, Inside View, “The superseding information is attached and says that Pike sent Scott an email about the “delicate process of trying to scrub Ruja’s Name” and more…
You probably mean adversarial, not accusatory. The difference between adversarial and inquisitorial systems – mostly, the difference between systems derived from the English one and all the other ones – has got nothing to do with how defense lawyers are paid.
I don’t know of any European country which has public defenders as they exist in the US. People who cannot afford a lawyer get one at public expense, but those lawyers aren’t in state employment, when taking such cases they just get their bills paid by the state instead of by the client.
Everywhere, it’s a fact of life that criminal defense lawyers will make a significant part of their income from the proceeds of crime.
In England you get accused. The US too. In most of the rest of Europe the presiding officer acts as a kind of investigator.
Spending or accepting proceeds of crime is criminal and people who stole more should not be in a better position. End of rant.
In all legal systems you get accused, otherwise you wouldn’t be on trial. There is no such thing as a non-accusatory criminal justice system. The difference between the legal systems of Britain and its former colonies, and those of the rest of the world, is between an an adversarial and an inquisitorial approach (although this is by no means a clear-cut, absolute distinction).
In an adversarial system, the work of establishing the facts of the case in court, so that guilt can be decided upon, has to be done by two opposing teams of lawyers, for the prosecution and the defense. The judge mostly acts only as an arbiter, making sure both sides follow the rules. In an inquisitorial system, the judge takes an active part in establishing those facts, not in investigating anything. That’s the job of the police.
Personally, I think it’s a majorly overblown distinction. In my observation it makes very little difference in practice whether it’s only the lawyers for both sides asking questions of witnesses, or whether the judge asks a lot of those questions before the lawyers get their go. The same questions get asked.