Defendant in OneCoin case to oppose “conscious avoidance” charge

Maria Nikolova

Counsel for Mark Scott, who allegedly aided fraudulent crypto scheme OneCoin, is poised to oppose a “conscious avoidance” charge brought by the US authorities.

Several days after the United States Government filed its “Request to Charge” regarding Mark Scott, who allegedly aided and abetted the fraud committed by cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin, the defendant’s counsel submitted a Letter at the New York Southern District Court.

Among the charges mentioned by the US Government is the so-called “conscious avoidance”. The US authorities have explained that one may not willfully and intentionally remain ignorant of a fact material and important to his conduct in order to escape the consequences of criminal law. The law calls this “conscious avoidance” or “willful blindness.”

In other words, the Government can prove either that the defendant actually knew the objective of the conspiracy or he consciously avoided knowledge of the object of the conspiracy.

In their Letter filed on October 23, 2019, Counsel for the defendant provide comments on the Government’s request to charge. For most part, the defendant has no objection, or only limited proposed modifications, to charges proposed by the Government.

Mark Scott’s Counsel says:

“We expect to oppose a “conscious avoidance” charge and would propose to detail our opposition after the close of the Government’s case based on the factual record developed at that point. In the event such a charge is given, we believe it should be accompanied by a corresponding “good faith” charge that should be given in conjunction. We may also submit a defense theory charge at that time.”

Earlier in October, the US Government added one more count – Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, to the indictment of Scott.

Scott, who was employed for a portion of the relevant time period as a partner at an international law firm, is accused of having organized, owned, operated a series of investment funds known as the “Fenero Funds,” which he used for the purpose of laundering OneCoin fraud proceeds. Scott is alleged to have engaged in a scheme to launder approximately $400 million of OneCoin proceeds through the Fenero Funds and related entities between approximately 2016 and 2018.

With regards to Count Two (Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud) of the Superseding Indictment, the Grand Jury charges that, from at least 2016 through in or about 2018, Mark Scott and others willfully conspired to commit bank fraud. It was a part of the conspiracy that Mark Scott and others executed a scheme to defraud a financial institution, and to obtain money and funds under the custody and control of such financial institution by means of false and fraudulent pretenses.

The trial of Mark Scott is set to start on November 4, 2019.

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