Leader in stock scheme gets lenient sentence

Convicted of fraud, ailing Scott is put on home detention

July 15, 2000|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

The people cheated by Richard Scott wanted to see him punished. The state of Maryland wanted to lock him up.

Mother Nature got to him first.

Scott, 54, was sentenced yesterday in Prince George's County Circuit Court for his leading role in a financial scheme that took approximately $8 million since 1990 from more than 100 investors, including military-thriller novelist and minority Orioles owner Tom Clancy.

As a result of his convictions for fraud and conspiracy, Scott faced 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. However, Scott suffers from severe kidney and liver failure and must rely on his 89-year-old father for basic physical care.

His health forced the postponement of his sentencing from April until yesterday.

Because of Scott's condition, the two sides in the case agreed on a sentence of 18 months of detention at his Alexandria, Va., home, five years of probation and a $10,000 fine.

Carolyn H. Henneman, who argued the case for the state attorney general's office, said the reduced sentence was appropriate considering Scott's health.

"If this sort of unexpected factor of Mr. Scott's dying hadn't entered into the picture, we would have pressed for a significant jail term," said Henneman. "But even I can't ignore the fact Scott's dying. He's not the same man he was in the early '90s."

Scott's scheme began in earnest in 1993, when he met Clancy at an Orioles game. The two struck up a friendship.

At the time, Scott was running an investment enterprise out of his hobby shop, Goldie's Coin & Stamp Inc. in Camp Springs, Prince George's County. He eventually asked Clancy and his wife to put some of their money in the plan.

With one of the world's most famous novelists signed on as a client, Scott persuaded more than 100 investors across Maryland and Virginia to entrust their money to him.

He promised high returns -- at least 15 percent -- from "safe, certain investments" in coins or stock. Investors would be encouraged to take advantage of Scott's supposed access to initial public offerings and exclusive estate sales.

Scott provided glowing reports of profits. Investors responded by pouring more money into Scott's coffers.

Then, in November 1995, Goldie's filed for bankruptcy. State investigators said the money that was supposed to have been ear-marked for equities or vintage currency went instead to Scott's personal expenses, including speculative investments of his own and gambling junkets to Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

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