Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced former billionaire, CEO and owner of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from allegations that he, and individuals connected to him, defrauded FTX’s customers for billions, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors brought charges for eight counts of fraud against Bankman-Fried on Dec. 13, alleging that since at least 2019, the former tech mogul had been using customers’ funds to pay for trades conducted by Alameda Research, a trading house the former billionaire owned. Two of Bankman-Fried’s business partners — former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder and former CTO Gary Wang — have both plead guilty to their roles in the alleged scheme, with Ellison testifying Dec. 19 that she knowingly helped Bankman-Fried cook the companies’ books to conceal billions of dollars worth of illegal loans that Alameda and FTX made to connected individuals.
Sam Bankman-Fried has arrived in court for his arraignment. We’re told he will plead not guilty to all the charges against him. pic.twitter.com/yakSLkOus8
— Connell McShane (@connellmcshane) January 3, 2023
If convicted, Bankman-Fried could be sentenced to up to 115 years in prison, according to Reuters.
At its peak, Bankman-Fried’s fortune was roughly $26.5 billion, but a cataclysmic liquidity crunch at FTX at the start of November 2022 prompted Bloomberg to estimate that Bankman-Fried had lost his entire fortune, at the time valued at $16 billion. The former billionaire and his associates within FTX and Alameda took advantage of their wealth to “make undisclosed venture investments, lavish real estate purchases, and large political donations,” a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Dec. 13.
Bankman-Fried — who was the second largest individual donor to Democratic causes in the 2022 midterm cycle, according to watchdog OpenSecrets — also faces charges for violating campaign finance laws, including conspiring to make illegal contributions to candidates. Following the collapse of FTX, Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried, and brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, stepped down from their roles in the Democrat-aligned dark money group, Mind The Gap, according to a report by investigative outlet Puck News.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on Dec. 12 at the request of the U.S. government, and extradited to New York City on Dec. 21. He was released to his parents’ house in Palo Alto, California after posting a $250 million bail bond on Dec. 22.
An attorney for Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.