Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the defunct cryptocurrency firm FTX, was found guilty by a federal jury on seven counts related to fraud and conspiracy.
The jury faced a challenging decision, deliberating for slightly over four hours before reaching a verdict on Thursday, October 3, 2023.
Sitting stoically at the defense table in an ill-fitting gray suit, the 31-year-old Bankman-Fried was called to stand and face the jury for the verdict reading. Throughout this moment, he displayed no visible emotion.
Bankman-Fried had been accused of seven counts involving fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, with federal prosecutors characterizing it as “one of the most significant financial frauds in American history.”
The charges stemmed from allegations of misusing customer deposits on the FTX cryptocurrency trading platform to cover losses at his hedge fund, repay loans, and fund lavish real estate purchases, among other personal expenses.
He had entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. With a conviction on all counts, he could potentially face a sentence of up to 110 years in prison. His sentencing was scheduled for March 28, 2024.
As he left the Manhattan federal courtroom on Thursday night, Bankman-Fried turned to glance at his parents. His mother made a hand gesture over her chest in farewell, while his father offered her support by placing his arm around her.
With his head bowed, Bankman-Fried appeared to be overwhelmed with emotion while standing between his attorneys, who appeared to provide him with comfort. He nodded slightly as defense lawyers Marc Cohen and Chris Everdell whispered to him.
In a statement, Cohen asserted that Bankman-Fried “maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”
“We respect the jury’s decision. But we are very disappointed with the result,” Cohen said.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the verdict sends a message “to every single fraudster out there who thinks that they’re untouchable.”
“Those fo-lks should think again. And if they don’t I promise we’ll have enough handcuffs for all of them,” Williams said.
Judge Kaplan said a second trial of counts that had been severed is currently scheduled for March 11, 2024.
“I would tell the government to let me know by Feb. 1 whether that’s going to proceed,” the judge said.
Sam Bankman-Fried resigned from his position at FTX in November 2022 as the company’s swift decline led to its bankruptcy, marking a stark contrast to its former valuation of $32 billion at its peak. The subsequent month, prosecutors filed a litany of charges against Bankman-Fried, focusing on an alleged investor fraud scheme.
Throughout the month-long trial, the prosecution argued that this was an elaborate and intentional fraud, while the defense attempted to shift responsibility for FTX’s downfall and portrayed Bankman-Fried as a well-intentioned mathematics enthusiast.
During his testimony in defense, Bankman-Fried admitted to making errors but vehemently denied committing fraud.
He also disclosed that he only became aware of Alameda’s use of $8 billion in FTX customer funds two months prior to FTX’s bankruptcy.
Caroline Ellison, former co-CEO of Alameda and Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, had previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges and cooperated with prosecutors, testifying that she had engaged in fraudulent activities alongside Bankman-Fried and under his guidance.
Ellison further testified that Bankman-Fried adhered to a utilitarian philosophy, believing that rules against lying or stealing hindered his ability to maximize the greatest benefit for the most people.
FTX co-founder Gary Wang also admitted to wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud in collaboration with others, including Bankman-Fried, during his testimony. Wang reached an agreement with the government to testify after previously pleading guilty to fraud charges.
some pieces of information for the completion of this article were picked from ABCNEWS
Visit our Latest World News Page for global updates
- Follow Our Website: On WhatsApp at Townflex || Twitter at @Townflexgh || Facebook at Townflex || Telegram at @Townflex || Townflex on Pinterest || Townflex on TikTok || Townflex on YouTube 1 || Townflex on YouTube 2 || Townflex on Google News. ||