On Thursday, Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on all counts in his fraud trial. According to CNBC, the federal jury in Manhattan reached its verdict after four hours of deliberations.
Bankman-Fried, the co-founder of the digital currency exchange FTX, had been charged with seven counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering, for swindling customers of his digital currency exchange and lenders to its affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, commented on the verdict, saying “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.” Mark S. Cohen, counsel to Bankman-Fried, stated that although disappointed, they respect the jury’s decision and will continue to fight the charges against him.
The downfall of FTX and Alameda began in November 2022, when some of their financial liabilities were exposed. Customers attempted to withdraw their money, and the value of Alameda’s investments crashed, leaving FTX unable to return much of the money. Prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried had misused billions of dollars from FTX’s customers, as well as spent billions on sponsorships, commercials, and loans to top executives.
Other FTX and Alameda leaders had also been charged, with former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and FTX technology chief Nishad Singh all pleading guilty to the charges against them. They agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and testify against Bankman-Fried in exchange for lighter sentences.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that he had not intended to defraud anyone, but the prosecutor said that his conviction should serve as a warning to other fraudsters. Bankman-Fried is facing a potential 115 years in prison, and will also be going on trial in March on charges of bribing foreign officials and other counts, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Marley Jay and Phil Helsel reported on this story for NBC News Digital, with Valeriya Antonshchuk contributing.