Sam Bankman-Fried to Enter Plea in Case Alleging Fraud and Embezzlement at FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange

Source: video screenshot, NBC News/YouTube

In another installment of Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal woes in the aftermath of the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, the platform’s co-founder is now expected to enter a plea next week related to criminal charges he defrauded investors and stole billions of dollars in customer funds.

The disgraced crypto boss is expected to be arraigned on January 3, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan federal court, as indicated by court records obtained by Reuters. 

Kaplan was handed the case related to FTX's collapse on Tuesday after the initially assigned judge recused herself due to the fact that her husband's law firm had advised the crypto exchange.

Earlier this month, SBF was arrested in The Bahamas after US prosecutors formally pressed charges against him. The businessman was eventually extradited to the US to face a number of criminal charges. Bankman-Fried was released from jail last week after posting a $250 million bond, but is currently held under house arrest at his family’s residence in Palo Alto, California. 

The Southern District of New York is investigating the former crypto mogul and the disintegration of FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda Research. SBF has been indicted on eight criminal charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy by misusing customer funds. Moreover, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged the entrepreneur with "orchestrating a scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX."

“One month ago, FTX collapsed, causing billions of dollars in losses to its customers, lenders, and investors. Now, a federal grand jury in New York has indicted the former founder and chief executive officer of FTX and charged him with crimes related to the phenomenal downfall of that one-time cryptocurrency exchange, including fraud on customers, investors, lenders, and our campaign finance system,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a December 13 statement issued by the DoJ.

At the same time, federal prosecutors are also investigating an alleged hack that enabled cybercriminals to steal assets worth more than $370 million from the exchange hours after it filed for bankruptcy. After the theft was discovered by US law enforcement, the authorities managed to freeze some of the stolen assets. However, the frozen funds only represent a small share of the entire loot.

FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11. Following this, it was discovered that the exchange was plagued with a $9.4 billion hole resulting from fund mismanagement.