Jury Quickly Finds Bankman-Fried Guilty on All 7 Felony Charges for FTX Crypto Fraud Scheme
There are many ways to view the FTX debacle, especially when a man and his company can go from billionaire status to bankruptcy to behind bars in the blink of an eye.
The conviction marks a sharp reversal of fortune for a now 31-year-old M.I.T. graduate who just last year was living large in a $35 million penthouse with some of his co-workers, as he ran a crypto empire that was estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars during its short run.
Bankman-Fried was convicted on charges including securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. He now faces up to 115 years in prison.
The story of a young and highly educated entrepreneur who hit the jackpot with cryptocurrency and other people’s money. It was illegally moving other people’s money around to enjoy life on a more luxurious level that has him facing over a century in prison.
From Top To Bottom
According to the lawyers from the Southern District of New York, Sam Bankman-Fried was guilty for all the right reasons. All of his crimes were traceable and were admitted to by his friends and business associates. Cryptocurrency may still be new to people but fraud is an old-time crime.
U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement:
“Sam Bankman-Fried thought that he was above the law. Today’s verdict proves he was wrong.”
“This case should send a clear message to anyone who tries to hide their crimes behind a shiny new thing they claim no one else is smart enough to understand: the Justice Department will hold you accountable.”
Keep in mind that cryptocurrency is about 15 years old now but still very much a foreign object to many investors. That is how SBF managed to convince the likes of Tom Brady and over one hundred thousand other people to invest billions in his FTX exchange.
A news article from cnbc.com. gave a minute-by-minute accounting from when the jury received the case to when they returned their verdict. It wasn’t a very long timeline to be sure.
The federal trial, which began in early October, pitted the testimony of Bankman-Fried’s former close friends and top lieutenants against the sworn statements of their former boss and ex-roommate. The jury returned a swift verdict after receiving the case at around 3:15 p.m. ET on Thursday and breaking for dinner at around 6 p.m. ET.
At 7:37 p.m. ET, the attorneys began to rush back into the courtroom, and the clerk said, “the jury has reached a verdict.” A minute later, the jury was back in the room.
The crimes SBF was found to be guilty of would take several pages of explanations to help readers understand this case fully. When it comes to breaking the details down we found some concise reporting from npr.com that might help make this clearer if you haven’t been keeping up with it.
Friends turned on him
The monthlong trial was highlighted by testimony from the government’s key witnesses, including Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and the former head of Alameda, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, who was Bankman-Fried’s childhood friend from math camp. Both pleaded guilty in December to multiple charges and cooperated as witnesses for the prosecution.
And as we know, the people that make a deal with the prosecutors first, get the best deal. SBF refused to make a deal. His lawyers contended he was just an innocent participant in one of the largest cases of fraud ever prosecuted in the United States.
Big Risk Failed
The trial had gone so badly for SBF that he decided to throw a Hail Mary, hoping it would keep him out of prison.
It was a high-stakes gamble for someone who has a reputation for embracing risk. But it didn’t work. Bankman-Fried wilted under withering cross-examination from Danielle Sassoon, a formidable prosecutor who clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The central question for jurors to consider was whether Bankman-Fried acted with criminal intent in taking customer funds from FTX and using that money to pay for real estate, venture investments, corporate sponsorships, political donations and to cover his losses after crypto prices plunged last year.
Judge Kaplan will decide Bankman-Fried’s sentence on March 28, 2024.
read more at cnbc.com