After approximately four hours of deliberation, a jury in New York convicted former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on all seven charges in his criminal trial. The charges include two counts of wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of securities fraud, one count of commodities fraud conspiracy, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.
The sentencing for Bankman-Fried is scheduled for March 28, 2024, where New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan will decide the duration of his imprisonment. Government prosecutors will recommend a sentence, but the final decision rests with Judge Kaplan. Each of Bankman-Fried’s crimes carries a maximum sentence ranging from five to 20 years, with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy having a maximum 20-year sentence.
During a press conference outside the court, New York Southern District U.S. Attorney Damian Williams characterised Bankman-Fried’s actions as “a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto” and deemed it one of the largest financial frauds in American history.
In response to the verdict, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, stated, “We respect the jury’s decision. But we are very disappointed with the result. Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”
Notably, other key FTX executives, such as former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering head Nishad Singh, had previously pleaded guilty to various charges and collaborated with the government to testify against Bankman-Fried throughout the five-week trial.
Bankman-Fried had pleaded not guilty to all charges and, during his trial, testified to maintain his innocence. He attributed FTX’s November 2022 collapse to “a number of big mistakes” and sought to distance himself from key decisions. Bankman-Fried placed responsibility on Wang for creating a function that enabled Alameda to trade funds it didn’t possess and claimed uncertainty about Alameda’s line of credit, which surged to billions during the crypto market collapse of 2022. Additionally, he pointed the blame at Ellison for neglecting risk management and framed the appropriation of over $8 billion worth of FTX customers’ funds as Alameda borrowing from the exchange rather than fraud.