Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty of fraud of $10 billion by a jury consisting of his peers. The verdict in New York was announced on Thursday after a trial lasting a month. Bankman-Fried was on the witness stand for several days but ultimately failed to convince.
FTX’s founder Sam Bankman Fried’s rise and fall as a cryptocurrency pioneer — a journey which included his testimony to Congress, a Super Bowl ad, and dreams of a run for President — reached a new low Thursday when a New York juror convicted him of fraudulent conduct in a scheme in which customers and investors were defrauded of at least 10 billion dollars.
Jurors in Manhattan’s federal court rejected Bankman Fried’s claim that he had never committed fraud, or intended to defraud customers before FTX collapsed into bankruptcy a month ago.
Bankman-Fried’s closest friends, including his ex-girlfriend who was a senior executive at the company, were ultimately responsible for his downfall. Together they stole billions from investors while living in a multimillion-dollar mansion in The Bahamas. Bankman-Fried, who was a major political donor and gave most of his money to the Democratic Party, was also of interest.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, after the verdict was announced, cried foul and complained that the prosecution portrayed his client as “some kind of monster.”
The jury was shown pictures of Bankman Fried sleeping on a jet, and playing cards with celebrities at the Super Bowl including Katy Perry. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos described Bankman-Fried as someone who enjoyed “celebrity chasing.”
Mark Cohen, the defense attorney, said that prosecutors tried to make “Sam” into a monster or villain.
He said, “It is both unfair and wrong. I hope you’ve seen it for what it is.” According to the government everything Sam touched or said was fraud.
Bankman-Fried could face up to 115 years in prison at the March 28th sentencing.