Jury Finds Sam Bankman-Fried Guilty of Fraud in Manhattan Criminal Trial
- A jury found Sam Bankman-Fried guilty of financial crimes in his five-week Manhattan trial.
- Prosecutors argued Bankman-Fried and co-conspirators funneled money from unknowing FTX customers.
- The defense said Bankman-Fried simply didn’t know and his executives were to blame.
A jury found Sam Bankman-Fried guilty of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in his criminal trial in Manhattan federal court after deliberating for about four and a half hours on Thursday.
The verdict was first reported by Inner City Press.
Bankman-Fried faces up to 110 years in prison for the charges. He is expected to appeal the verdict, The New York Times reported.
Prosecutors charged Bankman-Fried with seven counts of financial crimes after his FTX cryptocurrency exchange empire collapsed a year ago – almost to the day.
They say Bankman-Fried and several former members of his executive circle used his hedge fund, Alameda Research, to funnel money from FTX customers to themselves. They spent the money on lavish real estate in the Bahamas and political donations to gain influence in Washington, D.C., prosecutors argued.
Charges against Bankman-Fried included wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bankman-Fried’s defense attorneys made a case that the crypto mogul was unaware of how intermingled the funds between FTX and Alameda had become. They also blamed the companies’ collapse on poor decision-making by Caroline Ellison, the former co-CEO of Alameda as well as Bankman-Fried’s on-and-off girlfriend.
Ellison – along with execs Gary Wang and Nishad Singh – pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy charges and testified against Bankman-Fried at the trial, each emphasizing how they committed crimes at Bankman-Fried’s direction. The group all lived and worked together out of a penthouse in the Bahamas, which served as offices for both FTX and Alameda.
A longtime proponent of engaging with the press, Bankman-Fried kept onlookers on their toes over whether he would take the stand in his own defense. Though it was widely considered a bad idea for a defendant to take the stand in such a bombshell case, he did so anyway.