This past Tuesday, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried pled not guilty in a Manhattan federal court on fraud charges that he raided his his cryptocurrency trading platform, pocketing the funds and misleading investors. A trial date has been scheduled for October. According to court records, Sam Bankman-Fried is charged with consumer investments from FTX to make major real estate purchases, donate money to politicians and make risky trades at Alameda Research, his cryptocurrency hedge fund trading firm. FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda Research ex-CEO Caroline Ellison are now cooperating with authorities after pleading guilty to fraud.
Due to alleged threats to the family and friends of Sam Bankman-Fried, his lawyers motioned the court for the names of the two individuals who posted Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million personal recognizance bond. Sam Bankman-Fried on home incarceration with an ankle bracelet approximately 2 weeks prior on the condition that he remain at his parents’ house in Palo Alto, California.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams announced the creation of a special task force made up of senior prosecutors in his office to investigate and prosecute matters related to the FTX fraud, and that the task force will work to trace and recover victim assets. The same prosecutor previously recovered approximately $3.36 billion in missing Bitcoin using what he called “state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracing assets”. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “James Zhong committed wire fraud over a decade ago when he stole approximately 50,000 Bitcoin from Silk Road. With that sort of track record, recovery of FTX assets may be likely. The lack of security in cryptocurrency, along with the government’s mission to regulate it, has led to a collapse in cryptocurrency due to lack of trust in the decentralized markets. Since peaking at over $68,000 in November 2021, the price of Bitcoin has fallen to under $17,000.