Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), former CEO of FTX, was found guilty by a jury on all seven charges of fraud and conspiracy. The sentencing for these charges, which carry up to 115 years in prison, is scheduled for March 28, 2024.
A jury took just over four hours on Thursday to conclude that SBF stole $8 billion in customer funds from his crypto exchange FTX to fund risky investments, political contributions and luxury real estate. The conviction ends a trial that saw three of SBF’s former top lieutenants, including his former girlfriend Caroline Ellison, testify that he was the mastermind behind the year-long con.
In a dramatic turn that happened toward the end of the trial, SBF took the stand to depict himself as someone who made mistakes but did not knowingly steal from customers. During cross-examination, he said he “couldn’t recall” details more than 140 times, the New York Times reported.
The conviction was a victory for the U.S. Justice Department and Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who made rooting out corruption in financial markets one of his top priorities.
“The crypto industry might be new, the players like Sam Bankman-Fried may be new, but this kind of fraud is as old as time and we have no patience for it,” Williams told reporters outside of the courthouse.
SBF’s defense lawyer Mark Cohen said in a statement that he was “disappointed” but respected the jury’s decision. “Mr. Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” he said.
Bankman-Fried is set to go on trial next March on a second set of charges brought by prosecutors earlier this year, including for alleged foreign bribery and bank fraud conspiracies.
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