Before Scott Lumley forged a career as a self-described serial entrepreneur, corporate consultant, real estate developer, shoe designer, semi-pro basketball team owner, and COVID-19 rapid test kit provider, he claims to have been a competitive rodeo star.
“My whole life people have tried to put limitations on me,” Lumley posted on Facebook. “In my rodeo career I was told I was physically too big to compete in bull riding. I persevered and won multiple world champion titles. I won over 400 professional titles across my rodeo career. I’m not trying to boast but just use these as an example.”
Looking to stake his claim in the business world, Lumley, a vocal Donald Trump fan with homes in Tennessee and Morocco, said he had doors slammed in his face by people telling him he was too inexperienced and uninformed to make it.
“With 39 years of business experience, Scott Lumley has been the founder and CEO of over 150 companies,” his LinkedIn profile brags. “Mr. Lumley has also created revolutionary softwares [sic] capturing Real Estate leads at pennies on the dollar. Furthermore, Mr. Lumley continues to coach and consult aspiring Real Estate Investors and Entrepreneurs through his Inner Circle program, helping entrepreneurs build their financial wealth, succeed in business and build profitable portfolios. It is his passion to work with startups and established businesses.”
Although he presented himself in recent years to be nothing short of a roaring success, Lumley, 54, had quite the shady side. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering for promising a $177,000 shipment of Red Bull to a customer that never arrived. Facing up to 30 years in prison, Lumley was sentenced to five years probation—of which he served two, according to court records.
“Mr. Lumley is not likely to reoffend as he no longer has the financial difficulties he had when the offenses occurred,” Lumley’s lawyer wrote in a motion for an early end to his client’s court-ordered supervision. “Mr. Lumley has demonstrated that he has been rehabilitated.”
But according to the U.S. government, Lumley has subsequently made a business out of fleecing people trying to get rich off of cryptocurrency. In an indictment unsealed Tuesday in Salt Lake City federal court and first obtained by The Daily Beast, prosecutors accuse Lumley of bilking a Utah company out of some $550,000 as part of a larger overall attempt to steal more than $3.5 million. The alleged scheme, as described in court filings, is almost identical to the one that landed Lumley in trouble before, boldly replacing phony energy drinks with pricey Bitcoin mining equipment that didn’t exist.
“Why me?” Lumley’s website asks visitors. “I’m the damn best there is. All I do is build.”
According to Lumley’s own marketing, he struck it big in the e-commerce space selling electronics, running auction sites, and hawking leftover retail merchandise.
“I overcame multiple business obstacles, not just because I wanted the luxuries that come with financial success but most importantly it gave me the ability to help others,” he tells potential customers. “I’m currently managing many companies from all over the globe and finally aligned with a range of owners and partners who work for the betterment of mankind.”
Born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Lumley bills himself as a scrappy go-getter who has “personably [sic] been to hell and back.”
“I have had many, many failures both in business and personally, but I have always learned from them. I’ve built hundreds of companies… many not successful, and some I succeeded at exceptionally,” he wrote in a 2019 blog post. “Yes I have failed many times but that’s okay because that’s what it takes.”
Lumley’s ventures even included a shoe line, which he advertised as “[d]esigned for the badass entrepreneurs who are working each day to disrupt mediocrity.” Later, Lumley began charging $25,000 a year for “serious investors” to have “the privilege to grow their business exponentially,” as part of his “inner circle.” His offerings include, among other things, one-on-one mentoring, “networking opportunities with elite business people,” and “access to my A-Team.”
Last March, Lumley set in motion the scheme that led to the criminal charges now facing him, according to court papers. That’s when he met someone online who said they worked for UTH, a company in Utah that builds, sells, and services Bitcoin mining rigs, the powerful computer systems used to “mint” the cryptocurrency.
On Mar. 9, Lumley spoke with a company rep by phone about providing graphics cards used to mine Bitcoin, the indictment states. Lumley said he had a “personal connection” with David Ingram of lngram Micro, a California-based distributor of the components, and that he could provide 200 graphics cards for $234,000.That same day, UTH wired $50,000 to Lumley’s personal bank account, soon wiring another $174,000 to a personal account Lumley maintained in Agadir, Morocco.
A few days later, Lumley told his contact at UTH that Ingram wouldn’t be able to come through with the graphics cards, the indictment explains. However, Lumley said, David Ingram had connected him directly with the manufacturer that supplied Ingram Micro. The unnamed firm had agreed to sell Lumley 2,000 graphics cards, he claimed, offering them to UTH for a total of $3.6 million.
To shore up his bona fides, Lumley allegedly followed up with a purchase agreement appearing to show that Lumley had bought the 2,000 cards, along with a bill of lading stating that the shipment would be leaving the United Arab Emirates and arriving in Houston the following month on a container ship, the Maersk Kensington.
Of course, the much larger order would require a larger upfront outlay, and Lumley asked for an additional $260,000—which UTH promptly wired into his accounts, the indictment says. Lumley assured UTH that the funds would be applied to the total $3.6 million purchase price, which he said needed to be paid by Apr. 21.
About 10 days before payment in full was due, UTH wired another $60,000 to one of Lumley’s bank accounts. When the goods didn’t arrive, Lumley allegedly explained it away by saying they had been held up in customs after arriving in Houston late. UTH officials soon “began to ask questions regarding the 2,000 card shipment,” according to the indictment. “UTH wanted to ensure the cards had cleared customs and had been inspected before paying the balance of the purchase price. Lumley demanded full payment and threatened to sell the cards to another purchaser unless he had been paid in full.”
But, prosecutors allege, Lumley never had any sort of relationship with David Ingram, nor did he purchase 200, much less 2,000, graphics cards for resale. The purchase agreement he provided to UTH as “proof” of the transaction was fabricated, as was the bill of lading for the Maersk Kensington, according to the filing.
Lumley made off with $543,998 and “has failed [to] provide any graphics cards to UTH,” the indictment states. The day before he was indicted, Lumley posted to Instagram: “Bring back Trump. We have become a bunch of Wimps. This country was not build [sic] on Talk and therapy but pride and bravery.”
Lumley does not yet have a lawyer listed in court records, and The Daily Beast’s efforts to contact him on Tuesday were unsuccessful. Ingram Micro did not respond to a request for comment, and UTH was unable to be reached. The FDA did not immediately respond to a request attempting to verify a claim Lumley made on his LinkedIn that he was an official supplier of PPE during the pandemic.
The indictment follows the arrests last month of Heather Rhiannon Morgan and Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, a NYC couple accused of attempting to launder $4.5 billion worth of Bitcoin stolen in a 2016 hack. Morgan, an email marketer and aspiring rapper who went by the name “Razzlekhan,” is under house arrest as the couple awaits trial. Lichtenstein, a tech entrepreneur backed at one point by prestigious venture capital firm Y Combinator, remains jailed.
Lumley is facing five counts of wire fraud, a charge that carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.