Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty on All Seven Counts in FTX Crypto Fraud Trial

By  Daniel Cawrey November 2, 2023

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  • CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, was found guilty on all seven counts in FTX crypto fraud trial after a five-week trial
  • SBF, once considered a visionary entrepreneur with FTX and Alameda Research, faced allegations of fraudulent activities and financial misconduct.
  • FTX, once a prominent exchange with over 2 million users, faced a dramatic collapse in November 2022 due to liquidity issues and mismanagement of customer funds

One year to the day that FTX began to collapse in 2022, its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty on all seven counts after a five week trial.

In a Manhattan courtroom, the high-profile trial of Bankman-Fried is over. Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, is the former CEO of the once-thriving cryptocurrency exchange FTX and head of trading firm Alameda Research. Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, was found guilty on all seven counts by a twelve person jury that deliberated for about four hours on November 2, 2023.

From Visionary to Criminality

SBF had earned a reputation as a visionary entrepreneur, with his enterprises, FTX and Alameda Research, holding significant sway in the crypto landscape. However, with allegations of fraudulent activities and financial misconduct hanging over him, Bankman-Fried found himself at the heart of a legal maelstrom.

The charges leveled against him carry repercussions. The process of jury selection was a meticulous exercise, with the prospective jurors' prior interactions with cryptocurrencies being a central point of discussion. Their varied experiences, ranging from neutral to negative, highlighted the mixed sentiments surrounding the crypto world.

Judge Kaplan, presiding over the case, established the ground rules to ensure a fair and impartial trial. The final composition of the jury consisted of twelve individuals, each bringing a unique perspective to the unfolding case.

Financial Misconduct

The opening statements from both the prosecution and defense set a combative yet precise tone for the trial when it kicked off October 3, outlining the narratives each side intended to convey. Witnesses took the stand during the trial's first week, including FTX CEO Gary Wang and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison.

Their testimonies unveiled alleged internal misconduct within FTX and Alameda Research. Ellison expressed deep distress, stating, "I was concerned because if anyone found out, everything would come crashing down." She described living with the "constant worry of people finding out or FTX customers withdrawing all at once."

Adam Yedidia, a former friend and employee of Bankman-Fried, shed light on financial irregularities at FTX, while Marc-Antoine Julliard, a former investor, shared his experience of financial losses stemming from his investment in FTX. As the trial progressed, other key witnesses like Christian Drappi and Zac Prince provided further depth to the case. Their testimonies, intertwined with technical financial discussions, painted a vivid picture of the alleged financial mismanagement within Bankman-Fried's enterprises.

SBF noted "significant oversights," during his time on the stand as the trial approached conclusion. He stated he did not defraud anyone. Bankman-Fried's sentencing is set for March 28, 2024.

The Collapse of FTX

Founded in 2019 by SBF and Gary Wang, FTX was once a prominent cryptocurrency exchange with over 2 million users. However, it faced a dramatic downfall and filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2022 due to liquidity issues and mismanagement of customer funds.

FTX's collapse had significant repercussions, with allegations of a possible hack resulting in the theft of hundreds of millions worth of tokens. Nansen, a blockchain analytics platform, estimated that approximately $662 million in tokens were leaked from the exchange.

The future of FTX remains uncertain, although the exchange has made efforts to recover financially by recouping over $7 billion in assets. The relaunch of FTX 2.0 hinges on various factors, including the outcome of bankruptcy proceedings and regulatory approval. The exchange plans to raise capital through asset liquidation to compensate creditors.

The journey of FTX from a leading exchange to bankruptcy and legal challenges, underscores the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency industry. SBF's conclusion to his criminal trial one year to the day of FTX's imminent implosion is a stark reminder of this.

Image Source: Fortune