In a stunning turn of events, Sam Bankman-Fried, once revered as the co-founder and former CEO of the prominent crypto exchange FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, has been found guilty on all seven counts tied to a web of deception and money laundering.
The U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York released a statement accusing the defendant of orchestrating a far-reaching scheme to divert billions of dollars in customer funds entrusted to FTX, while simultaneously misleading investors and lenders associated with both FTX and Alameda Research.
This decisive verdict was delivered on Thursday, marking the culmination of a rigorous five-week trial that delved deep into the intricate unraveling of one of the crypto world’s titans and its sister trading enterprise. The U.S. Department of Justice had indicted the 31-year-old Bankman-Fried nearly a year ago.
The jury took just about four hours to reach a unanimous decision on six counts connected to fraudulent activities and one count associated with money laundering.
Bankman-Fried’s precipitous fall from the pinnacle of the crypto hierarchy stemmed from a flawed Alameda balance sheet exposed by CoinDesk in November 2022, triggering widespread panic and apprehension concerning the stability of FTX and its liquidity.
As the narrative unfolded, it became increasingly apparent that the issue transcended initial perceptions. Allegedly, the executives overseeing the now-defunct FTX and Alameda had covertly siphoned off over $8 billion from unsuspecting customer accounts.
Throughout the trial, Bankman-Fried maintained his innocence, asserting that he had not defrauded FTX customers or misappropriated their funds, but rather that Alameda had merely “borrowed” money from the exchange. Prosecutors vigorously contended that Bankman-Fried had lured investors with false promises, ultimately causing the loss of billions of dollars for countless FTX investors. They also argued that he had ample opportunities to come clean but instead chose to double down on the facade.