Jury Finds Sam Bankman-Fried Guilty on All Counts
A recent jury verdict has found Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, guilty of all seven criminal charges against him. If convicted, Bankman-Fried, who is 31 years old and has an impressive educational background, could face a maximum prison sentence of 115 years.
Bankman-Fried was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud against FTX customers and Alameda Research lenders. He was also accused of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit commodities fraud against FTX investors, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering. Despite pleading not guilty to all charges, he was found guilty.
The trial, which started in early October, revolved around the conflicting testimonies of Bankman-Fried’s former close friends and top lieutenants, as well as his own statements. The jury reached a swift verdict after receiving the case and breaking for dinner.
The prosecution relied on Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and former head of Alameda, and Gary Wang, a childhood friend and co-founder of FTX, as key witnesses. Both Ellison and Wang pleaded guilty to multiple charges in December and cooperated with the prosecution.
The Central Question
The main issue for the jury was whether Bankman-Fried knowingly acted with criminal intent when he used customer funds from FTX for personal purposes, such as real estate, venture investments, corporate sponsorships, political donations, and to cover losses at Alameda.
The Closing Argument
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos stated in his closing argument that there was no serious dispute over the disappearance of $10 billion in customer money from FTX’s crypto exchange. The crux of the matter was whether Bankman-Fried was aware that taking the money was ethically and legally wrong.
Comparison to Elizabeth Holmes
If the verdict stands, Bankman-Fried will await sentencing. His case has drawn comparisons to that of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, a medical device company that shut down in 2018. Holmes, who testified in her own defense, was convicted in early 2022 and received an 11-year prison sentence. She is currently serving her punishment at a minimum-security facility in Texas.
Watch the video below to see Sam Bankman-Fried’s testimony at the fraud trial.