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Sunday, November 5, 2023

Crypto Billionaire Fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Life Imprisonment

 
Crypto Billionaire Fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, Who Mingled With Former American President Bill Clinton & Ex UK Prime Minister Tony Blaire, Faces Life Imprisonment For Defrauding Customers Billions Of Dollars

Sam Bankman-Fried, who once owned a $32bn business and seemed to have the world at his feet, could now spend the rest of his life in prison.

Until relatively recently, the 31-year-old was a dishevelled-looking whizz-kid who had A-listers lining up to endorse and invest in his crypto exchange FTX.

There were glossy TV ads for the Super Bowl with Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen and American football star Tom Brady.

He rubbed shoulders with the likes of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton.

He donated millions of dollars to good causes, and said in interviews that he wanted to give most of his fortune away.

But his empire came crashing down, and investors lost billions. He was found guilty on all seven counts related to fraud and money laundering. He had built his fortune on lies. Now he faces up to 110 years in prison.
Born to prominent liberal academics and growing up in the shadow of Silicon Valley, Bankman-Fried showed an astonishing aptitude for maths puzzles at an early age.

After graduating with a physics degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he joined the trading firm Jane Street.

His parents were major influences - both are Stanford law professors who are well-known advocates for social equity. Michael Lewis, author of a new book about Bankman-Fried, told the BBC he believes the entrepreneur simply saw cryptocurrency as a means to make money to change the world.

In 2017, Bankman-Fried co-founded Alameda Research, a crypto hedge fund which he says was at one point making him $1m a day. A couple of years later, he set up FTX in Hong Kong.

FTX was launched in 2019 by Bankman-Fried and his former MIT classmate Gary Wang.

The exchange acted like an unregulated bank, allowing people to trade money for crypto coins, such as Bitcoin, and store their funds for safekeeping.

At its peak, FTX executives said the platform was facilitating $10bn-$15bn trading every day.

The central allegation was that Mr Bankman-Fried used customer funds to prop up his own risky investments in Alameda Research.

Prosecutors say he also spent millions, taken from deposits, on a luxury lifestyle and political donations - some of which are considered illegal.

When FTX collapsed, more than a million people were left out of pocket because they were unable to get their money out in time.

Several of Bankman-Fried's colleagues had already pleaded guilty, including his former girlfriend, Caroline Ellison.

He could spend 110 years in prison - five of the charges carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years each and the remaining two have a maximum of five years each.


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