Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been found guilty and convicted on all counts of defrauding customers of his crypto-exchange, FTX!
Sam Bankman-Fried Convicted : Guilty Of FTX Fraud!
Sam Bankman-Fried, who is also known simply as SBF, has been found guilty on all counts of defrauding the customers of his crypto-exchange, FTX, on Thursday, 2 November 2023.
The former crypto billionaire stood and faced the jury that delivered its verdict after just four hours of deliberations. He was found guilt on all seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money, and now faces decades in prison at a separate sentencing hearing set for 28 March 2024.
The jury verdict brought an end to nearly a month of court proceedings, which saw his closest friends and partners turn witness against the former crypto king, and one of cryptocurrency’s most public faces.
Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history – a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the King of Crypto. This case has always been about lying, cheating, and stealing, and we have no patience for it.
– Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams
SBF maintained his innocence right to the end, maintaining that while he made mistakes, he acted in good faith. After his conviction, his lawyer issued this statement:
We respect the jury’s decision. But we are very disappointed with the result. Mr Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him
– Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen
It is currently unknown if SBF plans to appeal the verdict. In any case, this won’t be the last we see of him, as Bankman-Fried is also set to go on trial on a second set of charges brought by prosecutors earlier this year, for alleged foreign bribery and bank fraud conspiracies.
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Sam Bankman-Fried Conviction : Warning To Other Fraudsters
After the jury convicted SBF, Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams warned other fraudsters to take note of his fate.
When I became US attorney, I promised we would be relentless in rooting out corruption in our financial markets. This is what relentless looks like. This case moved at lightning speed – that was not a coincidence, that was a choice.
This case is also a warning to every fraudster who thinks they’re untouchable, that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, that they are too powerful to prosecute, or that they are clever enough to talk their way out of it if caught.
Those folks should think again and cut it out. And if they don’t, I promise we’ll have enough handcuffs for all of them.
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Sam Bankman-Fried Conviction : All But Guaranteed
Sam Bankman-Fried’s conviction was all but guaranteed after three of his former close friends and colleagues, including former on-off girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him in hopes of reducing their own sentences. They are to be sentenced at a later date.
They helped convict SBF by presenting evidence that the crypto-trading firm Alameda Research received deposits on behalf of FTX customers from the early days of the exchange, when traditional banks were unwilling to let it open an account.
Bankman-Fried was accused of swindling FTX customers out of some $10bn. Prosecutors said that his fraud extended from 2019 to November 2022, when FTX collapsed under the weight of a liquidity crisis, caused by the lending of customer funds to Alameda Research, without FTX customer’s knowledge or approval.
Instead of safeguarding FTX customer funds, SBF used the money to repay Alameda lenders, buy property and make investments, as well as political donations. When FTX went bankrupt in November 2022, Alameda owed it US$8 billion.
He took the money. He knew it was wrong. He did it anyway, because he thought he was smarter and better and that he could figure his way out of it.
– Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos
Recommended : Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang Plead Guilty To FTX Fraud!
Before FTX’s collapse of his companies, Sam Bankman-Fried was known for appearing frequently in Washington and in the media to promote cryptocurrency. Despite a market downturn, the rapid growth of FTX earned him the moniker – king of crypto, which now appears to be a mirage.
Caroline Ellison testified that Sam Bankman-Fried directed her to shuttle customer funds into Alameda after the spring 2022 crypto downturn. Alameda was saddled with billions of dollars in open-term loans, and lenders started demanding their money back that summer. Alameda couldn’t repay the loans, and Bankman-Fried blamed Ellison for not hedging the fund’s money earlier that year.
Wang similarly implicated his former friend, naming “Sam Bankman-Fried, Nishad Singh and Caroline Ellison”, when the prosecution asked, “Who are the main people you committed these crimes with?”
Wang also told jurors that Sam Bankman-Fried wasn’t shocked by FTX’s massive debt. After telling him about the debt, SBF said “that sounds correct” with “a neutral demeanor”.
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