FTX Cryptocurrency Scandal: Who Is Sam Bankman-Fried & What Did He Do?

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Written By Sedoso Feb

In December 2022, authorities arrested FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas. Reports suggested that the US government filed criminal charges against Bankman-Fried, who faced a multi-count fraud indictment. The news of his arrest came almost one month after Bankman-Fried’s company filed for bankruptcy. After his arrest, authorities brought Bankman-Fried to the US for the trial.

Sam Bankman-Fried founded FTX in 2019 and became popular among cryptocurrency fanatics. It has been reported that FTX had 1 million users by July 2021. However, a year later, the company encountered a setback when CoinDesk published an article claiming that Alameda Research held a massive FTT, per The Associated Press. The article caused concern among individuals who had invested their money in the crypto market. The outlet also reported that rival cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that the company will sell its holdings in FTT.

On November 8, 2022, Binance reached a deal to acquire FTX. Citing the letter, The Associated Press noted that FTX faced a cash crunch. However, the deal went off, and Binance refused to acquire FTX. According to ABC News, the fall of FTX prompted federal prosecutors to initiate an investigation against the crypto firm. Meanwhile, FTX filed for bankruptcy, and John Ray III became the new CEO. In his filing, Ray noted that Bankman-Fried used business funds to buy luxurious homes for employees, reported The Associated Press.

Almost a month later, authorities in Bahama arrested Sam Bankman-Fried and charged him with multiple financial crimes. The court reportedly sentenced him to 25 years in prison for multi-billion dollar fraud.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s financial fraud case explored

After police arrested Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas, he was charged with financial fraud. The Associated Press noted that Bankman-Fried “intentionally” cheated customers and investors to make himself and others rich. The publication also mentioned that Bankman-Fried played a significant role in the company’s decline. On the other hand, federal prosecutors alleged that the FTX founder formulated a plan to “defraud” the company’s investors.

According to The Associated Press, Bankman-Fried diverted the customers’ and investors’ money to “cover debts, expenses, and risky trades” at Alameda Research. The outlet also mentioned that the FTX founder made several real estate purchases and massive political donations. Subsequently, Bankman-Fried’s parents signed a $250 million bond and took him to California. However, in August 2023, the court revoked his bail and sent him to prison.

The judge revealed that Sam Bankman-Fried tried to “influence witnesses against him.” Citing the judge’s statement, the outlet suggested that the FTX founder tried influencing trial witnesses and others whose names were not even mentioned in the case. In October 2023, the trial began, and Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the trial, Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison testified against Bankman-Fried, her ex-boyfriend, admitting that both committed financial crimes, reported The Guardian.

FTX founder’s ex-girlfriend helped in prosecuting him

In her testimony, Ellison noted that she and the founder of FTX committed “fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.” Citing her testimony, The Guardian also mentioned that Elisson didn’t commit any of the above-mentioned crimes alone. She also noted that Bankman-Fried decided to use FTX customer funds to repay loans. Ellison said, “I understood that he was telling me to use FTX customer funds to repay our loans.”

As per ABC News, Ellison became the star witness in the case. Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried testified in his defense. The trial ended on November 2, 2023, and the jury found Bankman-Fried guilty on all charges. As a result, the court sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

The entire case has been documented in Bloomberg’s documentary Ruin: Money, Ego, and Deception at FTX.

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