Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty Tuesday on eight charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit campaign finance violations in U.S. district court in Manhattan.
Bankman-Fried, who is accused of defrauding investors and diverting billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits to sister company Alameda Research, entered the plea following the spectacular collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange that has since led to further challenges in the broader crypto market.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said he was “shooting” to put Bankman-Fried on trial Oct. 2, but that he “may move that a day or so later or earlier,” according to Inner City Press.
Bankman-Fried has owned up on Twitter to “fuck[ing] up,” and claimed at the New York Times DealBook Summit last month that he “unknowingly commingled funds.” However, he’s said publicly he doesn’t think he “personally” has criminal liability in FTX’s downfall.
Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on customers, wire fraud on customers, conspiracy to commit wire fraud on lenders, wire fraud on lenders, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and violate campaign finance laws.
In addition to the criminal charges, Bankman-Fried also faces charges of securities violations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a lawsuit from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Bankman-Fried was arrested Dec. 12 in the Bahamas — a month and a day after FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. He spent a number of days in jail before extradition to the U.S. on Dec. 21. Soon after his extradition, Bankman-Fried posted $250 million bail.
“[T]his was not a case of mismanagement or poor oversight, but of intentional fraud, plain and simple,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Dec. 13, of Bankman-Fried’s actions.
“Bankman-Fried knowingly defrauded the customers of FTX.com through the misappropriation of the customer deposits to pay expenses and debts of a different company he also owned as well as make other investments,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in the same release.
The former FTX CEO, who at one time had a net worth of $26 billion, has been required to wear a monitor and live with his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, at their California home.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers told Kaplan that both Bankman and Fried have been subject to harassment since posting their son’s bond and requested that two remaining sureties remain anonymous to the public because of a "steady stream of threatening correspondence,” that his parents have received, including “a desire that they suffer physical harm.”
Kaplan granted the lawyers’ request Tuesday.
Bankman-Fried’s not guilty plea follows guilty pleas by former FTX Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Gary Wang and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, who face 50 years and 110 years in prison, respectively.
The charges leveled against Ellison include wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy against FTX and Alameda Research customers, conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Wang is charged with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud.
Ellison and Wang are reportedly cooperating with the Justice Department and the SEC.