November 3 – The 31-year-old FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried has been convicted on multiple charges of fraud after his crypto-currency company collapsed in November 2022.
Bankman-Fried has been accused of misappropriating and embezzling billions of dollars of customer deposits from his online business.
It’s been described by one attorney as one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.
The charges include two counts of wire fraud and five conspiracy counts. All combined, they could result in 110 years behind bars.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys say they will probably appeal and he continues to claim innocence.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Convicted after about a four hour jury deliberation last evening, which is very brief. This was over $10 billion that disappeared, that he just scammed out of people related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. He likely will spend the rest of his life in prison. He will not get sentenced until next February or March. But you know it’s still not clear where all this money went. We know that he was living this very lavish lifestyle and he was buying naming rights to arenas and he had properties on islands all over the place and he was donating a bunch of money to politicians. But there’s still a lot of this money that has never been accounted for that the government and different agencies are still trying to pursue against him.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I can’t help but think this modern ideology of diversity kind of helped this guy skate because he was odd. He’d be doing other things while they were in meetings, playing games. He had a very loose lifestyle, they had a bunch of people all living together. It was weird. It was like there were signals and signs there that people should have been paying attention to but because he met this weird kind of new diversity and he’s a brilliant young guy, they just didn’t pay attention.”
Barkdoll agreed, “I think that contributed to this, no doubt. He really endeared himself to the Hollywood types, all of these celebrities. He is a very strange character. I think it came out at the trial that he has any number of just mental health, cognitive type issues. By all accounts, he’s a brilliant person, a brilliant mathematician, but the linchpin here was his ex-girlfriend was the CEO of the company and she then cooperated with the government. Part of her testimony was essentially he knew this was a scam the whole time. He would instruct her and other corporate executives just to do all these things that he knew was stealing money from customers and remember at one time when this thing was launching, and it was up and running, this thing was growing by multiples that had never been seen before by Wall Street analysts, but it was just a giant Ponzi scheme and unfortunately, a lot of people, a lot of organizations, a lot of entities lost huge amounts of money in this scam.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “Do you think they’ll have the appetite to look into well, where did those dollars go? To Democrats more so than Republicans? How about that money trail? And is anybody calling on any of those folks that received those funds to give them back and what happens to the people that are out of the money that he was entrusted to invest?”
Barkdoll said, “To an extent this will become a Bernie Madoff scenario where there could be a fund setup to the extent some of this money gets recovered or clawed back as they say. There are scenarios that the victims could get a portion of it back. Some of the politicians have returned their donations, though many have not. But one of the challenges here is this guy was leading an international lifestyle. So there’s accounts and assets on islands, places that have secret accounts that are very difficult to discover, and it may be years until this could all unravel and the reality is much like with Madoff, they’ll never account for 100 percent of this. They might get a big portion of it. They might get a quarter or half of it, but they’ll never recover all of it.”