(Bloomberg) -- A Florida man admitted to conspiring to defraud a bank as part of a $4 billion Ponzi scheme based on the fraudulent cryptocurrency OneCoin.
David Pike, 61, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in a telephone hearing held in Manhattan federal court Tuesday. Prosecutors said Pike helped former Locke Lord LLP attorney Mark Scott launder $400 million from the fraud. Pike faces as long as five years in prison when he’s sentenced in January.
Scott was convicted of money-laundering conspiracy and bank-fraud conspiracy in 2019. Prosecutors claimed Scott set up a phony investment fund that he used to process money from Ruja Ignatova, the Bulgarian woman behind OneCoin. Ignatova, known as the Cryptoqueen at the height of the fraud, disappeared in 2017 as OneCoin came under suspicion.
Ignatova’s brother, Konstantin Ignatov, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering before testifying against Scott in his trial. Both Scott and Ignatov are awaiting sentencing.
OneCoin generated 3.4 billion euros ($4 billion) in revenue from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2016, according to the government, but had no real value and couldn’t be used to buy anything. OneCoin operated as a multilevel marketing network that paid commissions to members worldwide for recruiting others to buy OneCoin packages, according to prosecutors. The company, which was based in Sofia, Bulgaria, claimed to have more than 3 million members worldwide.
The case is U.S. v. Scott, 17-cr-630, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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