After a comprehensive five-week trial, the New York jury rendered a verdict on Thursday, finding the former crypto magnate, Sam Bankman-Fried, guilty on all seven charges, including fraud, embezzlement, and criminal conspiracy.
As a consequence, Bankman-Fried potentially confronts a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison.
The prosecution alleged that Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and overseer of both FTX and its affiliated hedge fund Alameda Research, engaged in the misallocation and misappropriation of billions of dollars from FTX customer deposits.
Additionally, he was accused of orchestrating deceptive practices to mislead investors and purportedly instructing fellow executives within his businesses to partake in similar misconduct.
Sam Bankman-Fried Is Innocent, Will Continue To Fight Charges, His Lawyer Says
In a statement by Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, it read:
“We are very disappointed with the result. Mr Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”
In a case that captured attention as a symbol of cryptocurrency’s extremes, Bankman-Fried was cast as a pivotal figure when FTX faced a significant downturn.
He was accused of allegedly siphoning off a purported $10 billion from customers to fund diverse expenditures including political contributions, investments in venture capital, and extravagant personal spending.
The jury, consisting of nine women and three men, deliberated for a little over four hours on Thursday, ultimately convicting Mr. Bankman-Fried on all criminal charges.
BTCUSD inching closer to the $35K territory. Chart: TradingView.com
As the verdict was announced, Bankman-Fried appeared visibly deflated. Following the jury’s dismissal, he stood with a bowed head, visibly trembling, while his lawyer offered counsel.
A short distance behind him, his parents – Stanford Law School professors – observed the scene. Upon being led out of the room, Bankman-Fried turned, sharing a smile with his parents. His father, Joe Bankman, comforted his wife, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
As their son departed, Barbara Fried was overcome with emotion, breaking down in tears.
Different Reactions After The Conviction
US attorney Damian Williams said in a statement following the verdict:
“Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history – a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto.”
According to Williams, the case has always been “about lying, cheating, and stealing, and we have no patience for it.”
“Find him guilty,” US prosecutor Danielle Sassoon told the jury. “He was ambitious” and had “the arrogance to think that he could get away with a fraud,” she said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland asserted in a statement: “Sam Bankman-Fried thought that he was above the law. Today’s verdict proves he was wrong.”
Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos told the court in his closing argument:
“The defendant schemed and lied to get money, which he spent.”
More Trouble And Pain Ahead?
Bankman-Fried is additionally scheduled for another trial encompassing a separate set of charges, filed by prosecutors earlier this year. These accusations involve alleged involvement in foreign bribery and conspiracies related to bank fraud.
The commencement of the second criminal trial involving Sam Bankman-Fried has been scheduled for March 2024. The defendant has entered a plea of not guilty in response to all accusations levied against him.
Featured image from Rattankun Thongbun/iStock