In a statement that we’ve been waiting almost exactly a year to hear, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has officially been found guilty of all 7 criminal charges put forward to him. In turn, this sees the former ‘crypto poster boy’ face a maximum sentence of 110 years behind bars, with his sentencing date set for March 28, 2024.
Per reports, jurors took less than 5 hours of deliberation to decide their unanimous guilty verdicts across all 7 counts - which include two counts of wire fraud and five counts of conspiracy tied to the collapses of FTX and Alameda Research.
Once made, Judge Lewis Kaplan issued the news to the courtroom, further confirming that the disgraced 31-year-old - who once ran a seemingly flourishing $32 billion-valued crypto exchange - will likely spend the rest of his days behind bars. Here, a maximum sentence of 110 years is in the offering (with five counts having a 20-year maximum sentence, and two having a 5-year maximum), however many predict a multi-decade penitentiary stretch to be given.
From the prosecution’s point of view - which was spearheaded by attorney Nicholas Roos - its success largely came down to its efforts of ‘traditionalising’ SBF’s crypto fraud, so that the non-crypto-native jury could understand the severity and nature of his actions. Further, this omitted points of law which focused on complex tokenomics and jargon (such as the involvement of the exchange’s native FTT ($FTT) token).
By virtue, the guilty verdict infers that the defence’s ‘good faith’ argument was unable to support their client’s seven ‘not guilty’ pleas. Instead, lead defence lawyer Mark Cohen had no choice but to face the music after the hearing, as he had this to say:
"We respect the jury's decision. But we are very disappointed with the result. Mr Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him”.
On the prosecution side of things, US attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams made a speech in front of an onlooking group of reporters at a similar time. Here he issued the following poignant message:
"Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history - a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto”.
JUST IN: ???????? US Attorney says Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial crimes in US history. pic.twitter.com/CLzVhiALUg— Watcher.Guru (@WatcherGuru) November 3, 2023
Additionally, Williams ushered the consensus that SBF’s conviction should send a ‘warning’ signal to other illicit actors in the crypto space, and that ‘handcuffs for all’ will be on the menu for anyone engaging in similar antics.
In fact, the Southern District of New York has more crypto cases in the pipeline, with Mango Markets exploiter Avraham Eisenberg - who is charged of stealing over $100 million from a decentralised crypto exchange - being next up.
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This article is intended for educational purposes and is not financial advice.