"I've faced a lot of adversity because of my being African American. And being young is new in this industry," Scott says in the profile. "But my command of the subject matter speaks for itself. My track record speaks for itself, so I'll let my actions speak for me."

When a victim complained about not getting a loan he was promised, Scott threatened him: "If you badmouth us, I'll have an army of lawyers go after you!"

Most everything in the article would prove to be a lie. Yet from the day the magazine hit newsstands to the day of his arrest, Scott would use the the Ebony article as his introduction letter when meeting with potential investors. Sanders remembers Scott pulling out the article after a game of golf.

"He'd keep a copy in the back of his car," Sanders remembers. "He made sure people saw that thing."

East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks admits taking a chance on Scott but says it cost the city nothing.
Bill Greenblatt/UPI
East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks admits taking a chance on Scott but says it cost the city nothing.
Evening Whirl publisher Anthony Sanders sensed that his golfing partner wasn't who he said he was.
Tom Carlson
Evening Whirl publisher Anthony Sanders sensed that his golfing partner wasn't who he said he was.

East St. Louis city manager Hudson remembers being impressed by the write-up.

"Once [the Ebony issue] came out, I was feeling OK about the riverfront deal," she says.

Scott even used it to try to get his hands on the money of one of East St. Louis' biggest celebrities: former Olympic track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Through his city-hall connections, Scott got a sit-down meeting with the gold medalist and the board of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, a charity that provides after-school programs for East St. Louis children.

The folks at the JJK Foundation only met him once in 2010, but it was memorable. Those who sat in on the meeting recall Scott talking a big game. He said he was staying at the mansion of a St. Louis Blues player on Lindell Avenue and mentioned that he had just purchased a Bugatti (a super car that sells for north of $1 million) that was being shipped to him from Italy.

And he flashed that Ebony magazine article about him running the largest African American hedge fund.

At the time, the JJK Foundation was restructuring its board and going through some financial difficulties. But Scott didn't seem nearly as interested in helping the foundation's bottom line as he was in managing the personal finances of the former Olympian. Joyner-Kersee, Scott suggested, should invest her personal wealth in his hedge fund.

Joyner-Kersee never did, but after the meeting a few board members looked into Scott's story. They couldn't confirm anything he had told them.

Despite Joyner-Kersee wanting nothing to do with Scott, he would later boast to potential fraud victims that he was on her charity's board — another of his many fabrications.

"It's sad when people try to take advantage of people, and that's what he was doing," Joyner-Kersee says in hindsight. "It was all just a bunch of lies, really."

Eventually officials in East St. Louis also realized that Scott couldn't back up his talk. When his contract expired after six months without even a hint of new development for the riverfront, the city council severed its relationship with him.

It was now the summer of 2010, and Scott's finances were dwindling. He had been staying in the old Hotel Indigo for several months but was now living in that barely furnished apartment in the Central West End where the most expensive décor was the golf clubs. The doors of East St. Louis had closed, but Scott would go on to New York, where he'd step up his game as a big-league financial huckster.

From his midtown office on Madison Avenue, Scott got to work bolstering his image as a rising young investment guru. He had fancy media kits made with studio shots of him in pinstriped power suits, and he paraded his Ebony magazine profile every chance he got. Amazingly, it worked.

Scott served on a panel titled "Building Generational Wealth" during a conference for Al Sharpton's National Action Network. He landed a similar gig speaking at the annual conference of the National Bankers Association, in which he told attendees his incredible rags-to-riches story.

"When I started out in this business, I was homeless, and I started out for a subprime lending company," Scott told the crowd. "I started because I needed the money and I saw there was a guy making $30,000 a month — and I didn't think he was that bright, actually. I had been doing calculus since middle school, so I thought if he could make $30,000 a month, how much could I make?"

He got written up in New York papers for sponsoring a play at a Bronx school about Bessie Coleman, the first African-American airplane pilot.

"We as African Americans need to know more of our history," Scott told the New York Amsterdam News. "I'm a firm believer that if you don't know where you come from, you can't see where you're going next. History is very important in shaping the future."

That same month he appeared on Roland Martin's Washington Watch on TV One, a cable station that targets black audiences. Scott advised young couples not to go into debt paying for outlandish weddings.

"Me and my wife got married at the courthouse," said Scott. "And I told her, 'If you believe in me, there will be a later time when I will have the financial wherewithal to provide you the wedding you've always wanted.' And I did, five years later."

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