Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of defrauding investors on his bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
Bankman-Fried is accused of looting billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits to support his Alameda Research hedge fund, buy real estate and make millions of dollars in political donations.
The 30-year-old defendant filed a petition through his attorney before U.S. District Judge Louis Kaplan in Manhattan Federal Court on eight criminal charges, including wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.
Criminal defendants often plead not guilty first. They may change their pleas later.
Bankman-Fried could face up to 115 years in prison if convicted.
Federal prosecutor Daniel Sassoon told the judge that prosecutors and defense attorneys have discussed a possible trial date in September or October. rice field.
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, Bankman-Fried has ridden the skyrocketing value of Bitcoin and other digital assets to amass an estimated net worth of $26 billion and become an influential political donor in the United States.
But FTX collapsed after a wave of withdrawals in early November, declaring bankruptcy on November 11, wiping out Bankman-Fried’s fortune. He later said he had $100,000 in his bank account.
The closest associate pleaded guilty last month
Bankman-Fried was extradited to the United States last month from the Bahamas, where he lives and where the exchange is based.
Since being released on a $250 million bond on December 22nd, Bankman-Fried has been subject to electronic surveillance and has to live with his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, professors at Stanford Law School in California. was.
Kaplan granted Bankman-Fried’s request not to release the names of the two additional co-signatories to the bond.
Lawyers for Bankman-Fried say his parents who co-signed the bond have received physical threats since the collapse of FTX, and other co-signers face similar harassment unless their names are kept secret. said it is possible.
The judge also imposed new bail conditions, ruling that Bankman-Fried could not access the assets of FTX and Alameda.
Prosecutors’ claims were bolstered by guilty pleas last month from two of Bankman-Fried’s closest associates.
Former Alameda chief executive Caroline Ellison and former FTX chief technology officer Gary Wang pleaded guilty to seven and four criminal charges, respectively, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Bankman-Fried, Ellison, and Wang were also sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Ellison and Wang settled their civil lawsuits.
FTX’s new chief executive, John Wray, known for his work on the bankruptcy of energy company Enron, said FTX was run by “very inexperienced” and unsophisticated people. I’m here.