March 27, 2024
Guilty Verdict: Ex-FTX CEO SBF Faces Potential 20-Year Sentences
Policy & Regulation

Guilty Verdict: Ex-FTX CEO SBF Faces Potential 20-Year Sentences

In a significant legal development, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of all seven charges by a jury in his criminal trial in New York, following approximately four hours of deliberations. The charges against Bankman-Fried included wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, commodities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

Bankman-Fried’s conviction comes after a high-profile trial that lasted five weeks. The former cryptocurrency industry leader is now set to return to court for his sentencing on March 28, 2024. While government prosecutors will recommend a sentence, the final decision will rest with New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

The charges levied against Bankman-Fried carry significant penalties, with each conviction having a maximum sentence of between five and 20 years in prison. The most severe penalties, including 20 years in prison, apply to charges related to wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

In a press conference held outside the court, New York Southern District U.S. Attorney Damian Williams described Bankman-Fried’s crimes as “a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto” and one of the largest financial frauds in American history.

Bankman-Fried’s defence attorney, Mark Cohen, responded to the verdict, stating, “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.”

Throughout the trial, several key figures from FTX, including former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering head Nishad Singh, had pleaded guilty to various charges and cooperated with the government as witnesses against Bankman-Fried.

Bankman-Fried had consistently pleaded not guilty to all charges and took the stand during the trial to maintain his innocence. He attributed FTX’s collapse in November 2022 to significant mistakes and distanced himself from crucial decision-making processes.

In his testimony, Bankman-Fried pointed fingers at Wang for creating a function that allowed Alameda to trade funds on FTX that it did not possess. He claimed that he “wasn’t entirely sure what happened” with Alameda’s ballooning line of credit, which reached billions during the tumultuous crypto market events of 2022.

Furthermore, he shifted the blame onto Ellison, accusing her of neglecting risk management. Bankman-Fried also denied defrauding FTX customers, framing the incident as Alameda borrowing from the exchange rather than illicitly siphoning customer funds.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s conviction marks a significant development in the cryptocurrency industry and underscores the legal scrutiny faced by prominent figures within the sector. His sentencing in March 2024 will be closely watched for its potential implications for future cases involving cryptocurrency-related fraud and misconduct.


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