The month-long trial of the former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was wrapped up on Thursday. The jury found the 31-year-old guilty of all seven charges, including conspiracy to launder money and wire fraud.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) could spend decades in jail. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan has scheduled a sentence hearing for March 28th, 2024. Thursday’s verdict was reached after four hours of jury deliberation, ending a highly publicized court proceeding that included compelling testimony from the former crypto mogul as well as his closest associates.

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SBF Will Go 115 Years in Prison?

Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of defrauding FTX customers and illegally using their funds to finance his extravagant lifestyle, including lavish real estate, political donations, and celebrity endorsement deals. One of the charges includes conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit commodities fraud against FTX investors.

Thursday was an emotional moment for Bankman-Fried and his parents, Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried. Bankman-Fried looked disappointed when the jury announced the verdict. He stood, head lowered, shaking while his lawyer talked in his ear after the jury was discharged.

His parents were standing a few steps behind him, observing. SBF glanced back at his parents and grinned as he was led out of the court. Joe Bankman, his father, slung his arm around his emotional wife, Barbara.

Reaction to the Verdict

Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement after the verdict that “Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

Williams noted that “while the cryptocurrency industry might be new and the players like Sam Bankman-Fried might be new, this kind of corruption is as old as time. This case has always been about lying, cheating, and stealing, and we have no patience for it.”

Furthermore, Attorney General Merrick Garland claimed, “Bankman-Fried thought that he was above the law. Today’s verdict proves he was wrong.” Garland added, “This case should send a clear message to anyone who tries to hide their crimes behind a shiny new thing they claim no one else is smart enough to understand: the Justice Department will hold you accountable.”

Interestingly, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, said he was “very disappointed with the result.” Cohen added that “Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”

SBF Maintains Not Guilty

Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty last December after his arrest. And maintained his stance all through the trial. Interestingly, former FTX executives, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, testified about Bankman-Fried’s role in the FTX collapse. However, Bankman-Fried claimed that he only discovered in 2020 that Alameda was holding FTX customer funds. And he did nothing to protect them.

Interestingly, SBF failed to fire any staff after learning of the $8 billion hole in FTX’s sheet. Thursday’s decision brings an end to a year-long ride that saw the 31-year-old Bankman-Fried go from being a billionaire in a lavish Bahamas condominium to being charged in one of the most prominent white-collar crime cases since Bernie Madoff’s collapsed Ponzi scheme in 2009. 

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