Inside David Smith’s OLINT Sentence

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By Robert Di Pano

United States authorities are now seeking restitution and asset forfeiture from failed OLINT Ponzi schemer David Smith after his 30-year prison sentence for wire fraud and money laundering was announced Aug. 11.

US Federal District Court Judge Mary Scriven ordered Smith to pay $55.6 million to OLINT victims.

Smith has also agreed to forfeit $128 million in assets, including a Windermere, Fla., home and $5.4 million seized from OLINT-named accounts.

Smith’s lawyers proposed that, because a small number of investors made a profit on their OLINT investment, restitution should be reduced by gains paid to others, an argument the court rejected.

His legal team argued that Smith’s downfall was premised on youthful naïveté and academic underachievement — rather than the shrewd mind of a seasoned schemer. But given Smith’s vast financial experience – he was a Chartered Financial Analyst, held a degree in Business Management from Nova Southeastern University and meaningful experience in foreign exchange trading and corporate finance, Scriven concluded that Smith knew exactly what he was doing in bilking thousands of investors out of millions of dollars.

Smith did ultimately accept responsibility for his actions, and cooperated with authorities both in Turks and Caicos and the United States.

While it proved to be too little, too late to avoid three decades in prison, if Smith continues to cooperate with authorities and provides substantial assistance going forward, US prosecutors could move for a reduction in Smith’s sentence in the future.