High-profile cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried, who was on trial for fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, has been found guilty of all seven counts by a New York jury after a five-week trial (pictured outside court by Reuters/Amr Alfiky). The fallen cryptocurrency star, son of Stanford law professors, now faces a potential prison sentence of up to 110 years, with the sentencing scheduled for March 28, 2024.
Prosecutors accused him of unknowingly using funds deposited by his clients on the FTX cryptocurrency exchange platform, which filed for bankruptcy in November 2022. These funds were allegedly used to fuel transactions and high-risk investments for his company, Alameda Research. Prosecutor Danielle Sassoon, representing Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, described Bankman-Fried as talented and ambitious, someone who aimed to be the president of the United States, but who used billions from his clients’ accounts for personal gain and public relations, believing he could cheat and get away with it.
Bankman-Fried admitted to making mistakes but claimed he never intentionally broke the law. The defense portrayed the 31-year-old MIT graduate as a young, inexperienced businessman who acted in good faith.
The jury deliberated for a few hours before reaching a verdict that surprised no one. The case started a year ago when CoinDesk, a website specializing in cryptocurrency news, revealed the problematic nature of Bankman-Fried’s activities, including the connection to FTX’s cryptocurrency FTT. These revelations led to the collapse of FTT and Bankman-Fried’s empire, resulting in the dissipation of his personal fortune ($26 billion, according to Fortune magazine). After his extradition from the Bahamas, where FTX was based, he was charged and put on trial for fraud and conspiracy. His defense plans to appeal, and he is expected to face a second trial for bribery and bank fraud.