Sam Bankman-Fried, former FTX CEO and a one-time poster child for the crypto industry, entered a not-guilty plea on January 3, less than two months after the swift downfall of his crypto empire.
Now, SBF faces a total of eight criminal counts — securities fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to avoid campaign finance regulations — that may land him a long prison sentence of up to 115 years should he be convicted.
According to Bloomberg, the FTX founder is set to face trial on October 2, after US prosecutors announced that they “expect to produce all evidence for the case in the next four weeks.” US District Judge Lewis Kaplan also added a new bail condition that prohibits Bankman-Fried from transferring or accessing FTX and Alameda assets. The decision follows a request from federal prosecutors who observed a series of transactions tied to crypto wallets that reportedly belong to SBF just days after he was released on $250 million pre-trial bond.
Bankman-Fried denied he was making the reported transactions. “I’m not and couldn’t be moving any of those funds; I don’t have access to them anymore,” he added.
For context, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the US on December 22 after being formally indicted on fraud charges. He was released from custody on a $250 million bail package secured by his parents’ home in Palo Alto worth $4 million plus $21 million from the two other non-relative signatories. If Bankman-Fried fails to show up in court on the trial day, the agreement sureties would have to pay the bond’s full amount.
At the same January 3 hearing, judge Kaplan agreed to keep private the identities of two bail co-signers, as was requested by Bankman-Fried’s attorneys.
“Among other things, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s parents have received a steady stream of threatening correspondence, including communications expressing a desire that they suffer physical harm,” SBF’s legal team wrote.
“Consequently, there is serious cause for concern that the two additional sureties would face similar intrusions on their privacy as well as threats and harassment if their names appear unredacted.”
Even if FTX ex-CEO wanted to cooperate, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York would agree to a plea bargain only “if he brought substantial value,” a former SDNY prosecutor Tim Howard told Bloomberg. “SDNY does not like to cooperate down, and Bankman-Fried is likely at the top of their pyramid, so it’s unlikely.”
The investigators in Bankman-Fried’s case are assisted by two of his close friends and associates — Caroline Ellison, former CEO of quant trading firm Alameda and SBF’s onetime romantic partner, and Zixiao “Gary” Wang, FTX co-founder and ex-CTO. Both have already pled guilty and are cooperating with the prosecutors