The downfall of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried from king of the crypto world to crypto scammer is complete.
A Manhattan jury of nine women and three men took less than five hours Thursday afternoon, day 18 of the high-profile trial, to convict Bankman-Fried on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy for stealing billions of dollars of his customers’ assets.
“Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history, a multi-million scheme designed to make him the king of crypto,” said Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in remarks following the verdict.
The guilty verdict came a year to the day after crypto publication CoinDesk published a story showing balance sheet irregularities at Bankman-Fried’s investment company, Alameda Research, that suggested the ties between Alameda and FTX were unusually close. Bankman-Fried now faces potentially decades in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 28.
After listening to Judge Lewis Kaplan read through 60 pages of instructions, jurors quickly concluded that Bankman-Fried was responsible for decisions that led to an $8 billion hole in its balance sheet, including the use of customer assets for political donations, investments and his own personal use. Prosecutors had reiterated this theme in a stinging, Thursday morning rebuttal.
And jurors rejected whole-hog Bankman-Fried’s defense team’s narrative that Bankman-Fried was being villainized for being a poor manager who didn’t create sufficient risk management systems. They also did not buy into Bankman-Fried’s claim that he was unaware of the severity of his company’s financial problems and that his inner circle, three of whom testified earlier in the trial as part of plea agreements, were to blame.
“We respect the jury’s decision,” said Bankman-Fried’s lead attorney, Mark Cohen. But we are very disappointed with the result. Mr. Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to fight the charges against him.”
U.S. attorney Wiliams called Bankman-Fried’s crimes “ fraud” as “old as time,” and said his office had “no patience for it.”
He added: “This case moved at lightning speed, that was a choice, not a coincidence.”
Catch up on Unchained’s previous coverage:
- SBF Trial, Day 1: Possible Witnesses Include FTX Insiders, Big Names in Crypto, and SBF’s Family
- SBF Trial, Day 2: DOJ Says Sam Bankman-Fried ‘Lied’ While Defense Claims His Actions Were ‘Reasonable’
- SBF Trial, Day 3: Why a True Believer in FTX Flipped Once He Learned One Fact
- SBF Trial, Day 4: SBF’s Lawyers Annoy Judge Kaplan, While Wang Reveals Alameda’s Special Privileges
- SBF Trial, Day 5: SBF’s Defense Finally Found Its Legs, But Can It Counter Caroline Ellison?
- SBF Trial, Day 6: Caroline Ellison Recalls ‘The Worst Week of My Life’
- SBF Trial, Day 7: In SBF Trial, Did the Defense Lose Its Opportunity With the Star Witness?
- SBF Trial, Day 8: Former BlockFi CEO Adds Credibility to Fraud Charges
- SBF Trial, Day 9: Nishad Singh Describes Former FTX CEO as a Bully and Big Spender
- SBF Trial, Day 10: Defense Struggles to Discredit Nishad Singh’s Testimony
- SBF Trial, Day 11: How Alameda Got FTX Into a $9 Billion Hole
- SBF Trial, Day 12: Former FTX General Counsel Speaks Out Against SBF
- SBF Trial, Day 13: Before Judge, Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Gives Few Straight Answers
- SBF Trial, Day 14: Sam Bankman-Fried Casts Blame on Others for Key Decisions at FTX
- SBF Trial, Day 15: Prosecutors Hammer Bankman-Fried’s Contradictions With Reams of Evidence
- SBF Trial, Day 16: In Final Cross Examination, SBF Gets Caught Again by His Own Words
- SBF Trial, Day 17: Closing Arguments Ask: ‘Villain or Good-Faith Actor?’
- SBF Trial, Day 18: Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty on All 7 Counts in Swift Verdict
- Did Sam Bankman-Fried Have Intent to Defraud FTX Investors?
- Why These Lawyers Say It’s Over for SBF-But His Only Hail Mary Is to Testify
- Here’s How Sam Bankman-Fried’s High-Stakes Trial Could Play Out
- SBF Trial: How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyers Might Try and Win His Case
- The High-Stakes Trial of Sam Bankman-Fried Begins: What to Expect