According to the latest report, in a high-stakes trial that captured the attention of financial markets and the cryptocurrency community, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of a massive financial fraud scheme. The verdict, delivered after approximately four and a half hours of jury deliberations, marks a significant fall from grace for the once-prominent billionaire.
The trial, which spanned a month, saw Bankman-Fried facing seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors argued that he had looted a staggering $8 billion from customers of his cryptocurrency exchange for personal gain, alleging that greed was the driving force behind his actions.
The verdict was reached by a 12-member jury in Manhattan federal court, carrying a maximum sentence of between 5 to 20 years in prison for each count. The charges included wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy, with the latter carrying a potential 20-year sentence.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, described Bankman-Fried’s crimes as a “multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto.” This landmark case is now considered one of the most significant financial frauds in American history.
Key FTX Executives Turned Witnesses
Notably, several key FTX executives, including former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering head Nishad Singh, had previously pleaded guilty to various charges. They cooperated with the government, testifying against Bankman-Fried during the trial.
The verdict comes nearly a year after FTX filed for bankruptcy, leading to the sudden collapse of Bankman-Fried’s estimated $26 billion personal fortune, which had earned him the status of a billionaire.
Bankman-Fried, who had pleaded not guilty to all charges, maintained his innocence during the trial. He distanced himself from key decisions, placing blame on others, including Wang and Ellison, and framing certain actions as borrowing rather than fraud.
The conviction serves as a major win for the U.S. Justice Department and underscores its commitment to rooting out corruption in financial markets, even in the relatively new cryptocurrency industry.
This trial, which saw Bankman-Fried testify in his own defense, is the first of several high-profile cases brought against cryptocurrency executives by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
However, Bankman-Fried’s sentencing is scheduled for March 28, 2024, and he could potentially face decades in prison. His defense lawyer, Mark Cohen, expressed disappointment with the verdict and reiterated Bankman-Fried’s intention to continue fighting the charges.
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