Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty by a jury of his peers of fraud totaling $10 billion. The verdict was delivered on Thursday in New York after a trial that lasted a month. During the proceedings, Bankman-Fried took the stand himself for several days but was unpersuasive in the end.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s spectacular rise and fall in the cryptocurrency industry — a journey that included his testimony before Congress, a Super Bowl advertisement and dreams of a future run for president — hit a new bottom Thursday when a New York jury convicted him of fraud in a scheme that cheated customers and investors of at least $10 billion.
After the monthlong trial, jurors rejected Bankman-Fried’s claim during four days on the witness stand in Manhattan federal court that he never committed fraud or meant to cheat customers before FTX, once the world’s second-largest crypto exchange, collapsed into bankruptcy a year ago.
Bankman-Fried was ultimately taken down by those closest to him, including his once-girlfriend, who held a high executive position at the company. Together, they siphoned off billions of dollars from investors, living the high life in a multi-million-dollar mansion in the Bahamas. Also of interest in the case was the fact that Bankman-Fried was an extensive political donor, with most of his money going to the Democratic Party.
In the aftermath of the verdict, Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney cried foul, complaining that the prosecution painted his client as “some sort of monster.”
They showed the jury pictures of Bankman-Fried sleeping on a private jet, sitting with a deck of cards and mingling at the Super Bowl with celebrities including the singer Katy Perry. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos called Bankman-Fried someone who liked “celebrity chasing.”
In a closing argument, defense lawyer Mark Cohen said prosecutors were trying to turn “Sam into some sort of villain, some sort of monster.”“It’s both wrong and unfair, and I hope and believe that you have seen that it’s simply not true,” he said. “According to the government, everything Sam ever touched and said was fraudulent.”
Sentencing has been set for March 28th where Bankman-Fried will face up to 115 years in prison.