Sam Bankman-Fried: Crypto change king responsible of billion-dollar fraud

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was discovered responsible on Thursday of stealing from prospects of his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency change in one of many largest monetary frauds on report, a verdict that cemented the 31-year-old former billionaire’s fall from grace.

A 12-member jury in Manhattan federal court docket convicted Bankman-Fried on all seven counts he confronted after a monthlong trial by which prosecutors made the case that he looted $8 billion (AUD$12.5 billion) from the change’s customers out of sheer greed.

The decision got here simply shy of 1 yr after FTX filed for chapter in a swift company meltdown that shocked monetary markets and erased his estimated $26 billion (AUD $40 billion) private fortune.

The jury reached the decision after simply over 4 hours of deliberations.

Bankman-Fried, who had pleaded not responsible to 2 counts of fraud and 5 counts of conspiracy, stood going through the jury together with his arms clasped in entrance of him as the decision was learn.

The conviction was a victory for the U.S. Justice Division and Damian Williams, the highest federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who made rooting out corruption in monetary markets considered one of his high priorities.

“The crypto trade may be new, the gamers like Sam Bankman-Fried could also be new, however this type of fraud is as outdated as time and we’ve no persistence for it,” Williams advised reporters exterior the courthouse.

As soon as the darling of the crypto world, Bankman-Fried – who was recognized for his mop of unkempt curly hair and for sporting shorts and T-shirts moderately than enterprise apparel – joins the likes of admitted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and “Wolf of Wall Avenue” fraudster Jordan Belfort as notable individuals convicted of main U.S. monetary crimes.

U.S. District Decide Lewis Kaplan set Bankman-Fried’s sentencing for March 28, 2024. The Massachusetts Institute of Know-how graduate may face a long time in jail.

His defence lawyer Mark Cohen stated in a press release that he was “disillusioned” however revered the jury’s choice.

“Mr Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and can proceed to vigorously struggle the fees in opposition to him,” he stated.

After Kaplan left the courtroom, Cohen put his arm round Bankman-Fried as they spoke on the defence desk.

As Bankman-Fried was led away by members of the U.S. Marshals service, he circled and nodded at his mother and father, the Stanford Legislation College professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, who have been seated within the courtroom viewers’s entrance row. Fried appeared towards him and crossed her arm throughout her chest.

Bankman-Fried is ready to go on trial subsequent March on a second set of expenses introduced by prosecutors earlier this yr, together with for alleged international bribery and financial institution fraud conspiracies.


Bankman-Fried’s was the primary of a number of blockbuster circumstances Williams introduced in opposition to former high-flying cryptocurrency executives to go to trial. A number of crypto firms went bankrupt final yr after the costs of bitcoin and different digital property collapsed following a years-long increase.

Prosecutors argued through the trial that Bankman-Fried siphoned cash from FTX to his crypto-focused hedge fund, Alameda Analysis, regardless of proclaiming on social media and in tv ads that the change prioritised the protection of buyer funds.

Alameda used the cash to pay its lenders and to make loans to Bankman-Fried and different executives – who in flip made speculative enterprise investments and donated upwards of $100 million (AUD $155 million) to U.S. political campaigns in a bid to advertise cryptocurrency laws the defendant considered as beneficial to his enterprise, in keeping with prosecutors.

Bankman-Fried took the calculated threat of testifying in his personal defence over three days close to the shut of trial after three former members of his interior circle testified in opposition to him. He confronted aggressive cross-examination by the prosecution, typically avoiding direct solutions to probably the most probing questions.

He testified that whereas he made errors working FTX, similar to not formulating a risk-management staff, he didn’t steal buyer funds. He stated he thought Alameda’s borrowing from FTX was allowed and didn’t realise how massive its money owed had grown till shortly earlier than each firms collapsed.

“We thought that we would have the ability to construct the perfect product in the marketplace,” Bankman-Fried testified. “It turned out mainly the other of that.”


Prosecutors had a distinct view.

“He didn’t cut price for his three loyal deputies taking that stand and telling you the reality: that he was the one with the plan, the motive and the greed to raid FTX buyer deposits – billions and billions of {dollars} – to present himself cash, energy, affect. He thought the principles didn’t apply to him. He thought that he may get away with it,” prosecutor Danielle Sassoon advised the jury on Thursday.

The jury heard 15 days of testimony. Former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and former FTX executives Gary Wang and Nishad Singh, testifying for the prosecution after getting into responsible pleas, stated he directed them to commit crimes, together with serving to Alameda loot FTX and mendacity to lenders and traders concerning the firms’ funds.

The defence argued the three, who haven’t but been sentenced, falsely implicated Bankman-Fried in a bid to win leniency at sentencing. Prosecutors might ask Kaplan to take their co-operation under consideration in deciding their punishment.

Bankman-Fried has been jailed since August after Kaplan revoked his bail, having concluded he probably tampered with witnesses.

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