Former CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the Federal Court in New York after pleading not guilty, 3 January, 2022.
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been found guilty of all seven charges against him by a New York jury on 3 November, only five weeks into his criminal trial.
After a four hour deliberation the New York Jury pronounced Bankman-Fried guilty of all charges, including two counts of wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of securities fraud, one count of commodities fraud conspiracy, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. Outside of the courthouse U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said SBF perpetrated “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history”, and that the judicial system had “no patience for it”.
Although Bankman-Fried was found guilty he is yet to be sentenced, which will be carried out by New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan on 28 March, 2024. The former FTX CEO could theoretically receive a sentence of 115 years in prison, with each of his crimes carrying a maximum sentence of between 5 and 20 years. An appeal from the defense seems likely, with defense attorney Mark Cohen saying they “respect the jury’s decision”, but will “continue to vigorously fight” the charges against Bankman-Fried.
Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested last December in the Bahamas — shortly after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and sister trading company Alameda Research — and was later extradited to the U.S., where he faced allegations of fraud. SBF pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, but other key FTX and Alameda executives — including former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering head Nishad Singh — all pleaded guilty to the charges against them, and worked with the prosecution to testify against SBF during his trial.
Although his former colleagues said SBF set the direction for FTX’s operations, the former CEO denied any wrongdoing during his trial, and tried to distance himself from key decisions of his companies. His defense team tried to paint SBF as an overworked businessman who made $8 billion worth of mistakes, and tried to place the blame on Ellison — for not focusing on risk management — and Wang, who created the function that allowed Alameda to trade with FTX customer funds.