Crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty on all charges in fraud trial

Bankman-Fried faces up to 110 years behind bars following guilty verdict.

A portrait of Sam Bankman-Fried. He has dark, curly hair and looks serious
Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of fraud [File: Saul Loeb/AFP]

Former crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty on all charges after orchestrating what authorities have described as one of the biggest financial frauds in US history.

A jury convicted Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, on seven counts of fraud, embezzlement and criminal conspiracy after over four hours of deliberations.

Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried, once the poster boy for virtual currencies, of stealing about $10bn, using customers’ funds to make risky investments, buy property and fund political campaigns.

The crypto entrepreneur, 31, now faces up to 110 years behind bars.

The verdict, following a month-long trial, comes almost a year after FTX filed for bankruptcy in a spectacular collapse that stunned financial markets and wiped out his estimated $26bn personal fortune.

During his trial, Bankman-Fried admitted to making mistakes in his running of FTX, which enjoyed endorsements from celebrities including Tom Brady and Larry David, but denied ever setting out to steal from customers.

In a risky move, Bankman-Fried testified in his own defence after three of his former fellow top executives pleaded guilty to fraud and testified against him.

Prosecutors argued that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate had been consumed by greed and had the “arrogance to think that he could get away with a fraud”.

“He didn’t bargain for his three loyal deputies taking that stand and telling you the truth: that he was the one with the plan, the motive and the greed to raid FTX customer deposits – billions and billions of dollars – to give himself money, power, influence,” prosecutor Danielle Sassoon told the jury on Thursday.

The jury heard 15 days of testimony, including from Bankman-Fried’s former associate and on-and-off-again girlfriend Caroline Ellison, who told the jury that they had stolen billions from FTX clients to prop up Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s personal hedge.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Mark Cohen said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with the verdict but respected the jury’s decision.

“Mr Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” he said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies