A jury has unanimously convicted Sam Bankman-Fried on a slew of charges, encompassing wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, and money laundering among the seven counts. The following is an in-depth look at what will happen between now and Bankman-Fried’s sentencing, which is scheduled for March 28, 2024.
Before the Gavel — What Lies Ahead Until Sentencing Day?
A significant turning point occurred last year on November 2, 2022, when an article scrutinizing Alameda Research’s financial status was published. This event marked the beginning of a dramatic downfall for Sam Bankman-Fried, the former crypto magnate, who now confronts a daunting 100-year prison sentence, having been found guilty of seven charges leveled against him by the U.S. government.
Before FTX’s collapse, the company successfully secured a substantial $1.8 billion in total funding, with a $400 million influx during a Series C funding round mere months before its demise. FTX’s estimated valuation stood at approximately $32 billion prior to the unfolding calamity. That all changed on November 2, 2022, when Coindesk reporter Ian Allison published a story about FTX, Bankman-Fried, and his quantitative trading firm Alameda Research.
The tale unfolds with Allison revealing that a majority of Alameda’s assets were tied up in ftx token (FTT), the exchange token spearheaded by Bankman-Fried and his associates. Merely days following the publication, on November 6, 2022, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) announced the exchange’s decision to liquidate its entire FTT holdings. This move precipitated the downfall of Bankman-Fried’s empire, ushering in a cascade of revelations about the dubious dealings of FTX and Alameda.
Exactly one year subsequent to the Coindesk exposé on the company’s finances, Bankman-Fried faced his jurors. His trial, commencing on October 3, 2023, spanned an exact month, concluding on November 2, 2023. After the jury delivered its verdict, Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, expressed his thoughts regarding the outcome.
“Here’s the thing: The cryptocurrency industry might be new,” Williams told the press conference. “Players like Sam Bankman-Fried might be new. But this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption is as old as time, and we have no patience for it.”
From now until March 28, 2024, Bankman-Fried will remain at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York. The facility has housed several high-profile individuals, including Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, singer R. Kelly, former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, and Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for ex-president Donald Trump.
Life at the detention center is difficult, according to several accounts. Inmates may share a single room for sleeping, eating, showering, and using the toilet. Inmates have limited access to recreational and social activities. Visiting hours for his parents, Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, are weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time.
After the jury convicted Bankman-Fried, his attorney, Mark Cohen – who also represented Ghislaine Maxwell – made a statement to the press. “Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” Cohen said. Cohen’s team has until November 20, 2023, to file post-trial motions. Moreover, Bankman-Fried’s legal issues may not be over, as prosecutors have a certain period to bring additional charges.
For the senior staff of FTX and Alameda Research who entered plea agreements with the federal government, including Gary Wang, Nishad Singh, and Caroline Ellison, the deals do not guarantee freedom from prison. The outcome of a plea agreement for a co-conspirator witness depends on the terms, the level of cooperation, and the sentencing judge’s discretion. While Wang, Ellison, Singh, and others have cooperated, this increases the likelihood they will avoid prison time.
What do you think about Bankman-Fried’s timeline until his sentencing? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.