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  • Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX has been found guilty by the court and could face up to 115 years in prison.
  • According to reports, the decision was made after more than 4 hours of deliberation.

The founder of the collapsed FTX empire Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of all charges after hours of deliberation by the jury. It is important to note that SBF faced two counts of wire fraud and five counts of conspiracy ranging from commodity fraud to money laundering. Several reports confirmed that the jury was prohibited from discussing the case even among themselves. Interestingly, they arrived at the same conclusion when the time was due for discussion. This implies that the defendant faces up to 115 years in prison. 

According to reports, SBF on several occasions attempted to prove his innocence to the jurors. He argued that the collapse of his company was a result of his ignorance. However, none of these could counter the evidence raised against him. From the court’s document, it was observed that about $10 billion of customers’ funds were accessed, misrepresented, and spent by the FTX founder. Also, three individuals who were once close and trusted colleagues of the defendant testified against him under a cooperation agreement with the government. It is important to note that these individuals have pleaded guilty. 

FTX, the company founded in 2019 by the defendant, was once a big brand with a valuation of $32 billion. In 2022, he involved some celebrities including Tom Brady and Larry David to endorse the company, of which a class action lawsuit has already been served to that effect. In November 2022, the company collapsed and this was the beginning of this legal showdown. 

More on the SBF and the FTX Issue

SBF once lectured Congress on the importance of keeping customers’ money safe and transparent. He was also seen donating money to institutions but was later found to have embezzled a huge sum which disrupted the company’s operation. In his statement before Congress, SBF was questioned why he did not put his best practices lectures to work in his establishment. SBF had earlier claimed that his biggest mistake was not hiring a risk officer. However, these are said to be a choice, not a coincidence. 

Prosecutor Danielle Sassoon commented:

That’s not a defense. That was a strategy. If you’re deleting messages and backdating documents and embezzling customer money, of course, you’re not going to hire a risk officer.

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According the U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, the outcome of this case should serve as a warning to “criminals” who think they are too powerful to be prosecuted. 

(This is) a warning to every fraudster who thinks they’re untouchable, that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, that they are too powerful to prosecute, or that they are clever enough to talk their way out of it if caught. Those folks should think again, and cut it out.

Prosecutor Nicolas Roos blames SBF for lying about big things and small things, making it easier for the jury to arrive at a quick and unanimous decision. 

Next fall, Alex Mashinsky, the founder of the crypto company Celsius, would also face a fraud trial. The collapse of Celsius affected several crypto businesses and the overall market. 

 

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