Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder and former CEO of crypto exchange FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, has been found guilty on all seven counts related to fraud and money laundering.
The defendant is “charged with a wide-ranging scheme to misappropriate billions of dollars of customer funds deposited with FTX and mislead investors and lenders to FTX and to Alameda Research,” a release from the U.S. attorney’s office at the Southern District of New York stated.
The decision was handed down on Thursday, following a five-week trial that dug deep into how one of the biggest crypto exchanges and its sister trading company collapsed about a year ago. The U.S. Department of Justice charged 31-year-old Bankman-Fried about 11 months ago.
The jury took about four hours to come to a verdict on six counts relating to fraud and one count relating to money laundering.
Bankman-Fried fell quickly from the top of the crypto totem pole after a faulty Alameda balance sheet was unveiled by CoinDesk in November 2022, which resulted in industry-wide panic and concern around FTX and its liquidity.
As the story unraveled, we learned that the problem was much, much bigger than many originally thought: The executives behind the now-bankrupt FTX and Alameda allegedly stole over $8 billion in customer funds.
In his trial, Bankman-Fried testified that he didn’t defraud FTX customers or take their funds, but that Alameda “borrowed” money from the exchange. Prosecutors argued Bankman-Fried made false promises and was responsible for the loss of billions of dollars for thousands of investors on FTX. They also argued he had many opportunities to come clean, but instead doubled down.
The DOJ’s December 2022 indictment stated Bankman-Fried knowingly defrauded FTX customers by misusing their deposits to invest in other companies and pay off lenders and expenses. After mounds of evidence and a verdict, that statement has been deemed true by the court and jury.
The seven charges bring a total possible sentence of 115 years in prison for the defendant.
The statutory maximum sentences are provided by The U.S. Congress as “informational purposes only,” as any sentencing will be determined by a judge, typically within 90 days of a guilty verdict.
Source : TechCrunch by Jacquelyn Melinek / November 03, 2023