The disgraced ‘crypto genius’ who established his 32 billion-dollar empire in the Bahamas and defrauded thousands of customers around the world, is going to prison after a conviction of seven charges of fraud.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s month-long case culminated in a guilty verdict around 7:40 pm on Thursday after four hours of deliberations in a Manhattan courtroom.
Prosecutor Damian Williams said Bankman-Fried “perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”
“The cryptocurrency industry might be new; the players like Bankman-Fried might be new. But this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time,” Williams said after the verdict was read.
Bankman-Fried, founder of the digital currency exchange FTX, was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering that swindled customers of FTX and channeled the money to his affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried is expected to be sentenced on March 28, facing up to 110 years in prison.
Though Bankman-Fried issued a ‘not guilty’ plea and testified in his own defense, prosecutors had already reached a plea bargain with his conspirators who all pleaded ‘guilty’ for a lighter sentence. Former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and FTX head of engineering Nishad Singh who shared a five-bedroom luxury penthouse in Albany, New Providence with Bankman-Fried, all testified against him.
As Bankman-Fried stood in his own defense, clean-shaven in a pressed business suit, which is a far cry from his unkempt curls and casual dress sense–he answered “I can’t recall” over 140 times while under cross-examination. His defense attorney Mark Cohen attempted to sum up his dealings as a mistake, admitting “there were significant oversights.”
An appeal seems eminent since Cohen stated that though Bankman-Fried respects the jury’s decision he maintains his innocence and will continue to “vigorously fight the charges.”