CEO of FTX Sister Company Caroline Ellison Confesses to Misusing Customer Funds – Here’s What You Need to Know
Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison has agreed to plead guilty to seven offenses, which include charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. Meanwhile, the CFTC has claimed that she "gambled Alameda customer money."
The 28-year-old Newton native, who is also Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend, was accused of seven counts. Two counts charged her with committing wire fraud on customers of FTX and engaging and conspiring to do so. Another two accused her of committing wire fraud on the lenders of Alameda Research and conspiring to do so.
Count five charged her with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, and count six alleged conspiracy to commit securities fraud on FTX’s equity investors. The seventh count accused her of conspiring to commit money laundering.
According to a newly unsealed agreement with prosecutors, Ellison has agreed to plead guilty to all these offenses, the combined maximum sentence for which is 110 years. However, since she has been cooperating with authorities, she is likely to receive a substantially reduced punishment.
Meanwhile, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed an amended complaint detailing the case against Ellison and Gary Wang, the co-founder of FTX. The agency charged Ellison with fraud and material misrepresentations in connection with the sale of digital asset commodities in interstate commerce.
The CFTC further noted that Ellison used FTX customer funds, which she received through the unlimited line of credit, to "fund a variety of high-risk digital asset industry investments.” The CFTC’s chairman, Rostin Behnam, said:
“With today’s charges we continue to move aggressively to hold all individuals who commit fraud accountable and protect customers from additional harm and losses. In the absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework over digital assets, the CFTC will use all of its existing power and authority to protect all market participants, while ensuring the integrity of commodity markets.”
As reported, Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of crypto exchange FTX, has been released from jail on bail after posting a $250 million bond in a New York court.
On December 21, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed a plea deal for Ellison that spared her of all major charges. At the time, Ellison’s bail was set at $250,000.
Notably, the guilty pleas were announced after it was confirmed that SBF was being extradited to the US. Prior to that, US prosecutors hadn't publicly revealed that Ellison and Wang were facing potential criminal charges or that they had pledged to work with investigators.