That’s all she wrote.
Sam Bankman-Fried on Thursday evening (Nov. 2) was found guilty on all counts.
And it wasn’t twelve angry men that did him in — rather, it was over a million angry creditors missing their billions in funds and a jury of nine women and three men who took around five hours to decide that he should be convicted on each of the seven charges leveled against him.
The charges span four categories: fraud on FTX customers, fraud on FTX’s investors, fraud on Alameda’s lenders and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
He faces a maximum sentence of over a hundred years in prison if given the full time for all counts for his starring part in orchestrating one of the largest financial frauds in American history.
Wall Street investment scammer Bernie Madoff, for his part, was sentenced to 150 years.
It took the jury about the same time to reach their verdict as it does to make two laps from Miami to the Bahamas with a private jet full of Trader Joe’s groceries.
“No idea if they will finish today,” said Judge Lewis Kaplan, the federal justice overseeing the case, speaking about the jury’s deliberation earlier this morning. “I will not keep them longer than 8 p.m… Transportation will be ordered against the possibility of them staying late,” he added, promising the jurors that the government would provide them with a pizza dinner.
And while a pizza dinner was served, the verdict was reached by 7:40 p.m. Everyone besides Bankman-Fried will be going home.
So, what happened today?
To start, the prosecution kicked off their rebuttal of Bankman-Fried’s defense team’s closing arguments, heard by the court on Wednesday (Nov. 1).
“Telling your customers to trust you with their money and then taking that money and spending it on yourself that is not a reasonable business decision. That is fraud,” the prosecution told the jury. “The customers would not have put their money on the exchange if they knew what was going on.”
“He was the hub of this fraud … he thought he should and could be President of the United States … he wanted influence and power,” they added. “Don’t fall for it. You. Know. Better.”
And the jury would end up listening.
At around 11 a.m. on Thursday, after the prosecution finished their rebuttal, the doors to the courtroom in lower Manhattan were locked.
For the next few hours, Kaplan walked the assembled jurors through the case and their responsibilities.
At around 4 p.m., Bankman-Fried, who was present as Kaplan walked the jury through their role, was led back to a cell block by court marshals.
Then, the nine women and three men began to deliberate behind closed doors.
For his part, Bankman-Fried had maintained his innocence in the face of damning testimony from his closest colleagues and seven former employees.
He was accused of stealing upwards of $10 billion in customer funds from his crypto exchange, squandering it on bad bets, luxury real estate, venture investments, political donations, and other lavish expenditures.
Those customers have yet to recover their money.
Those are the simple facts of the case: FTX’s customers deposited a lot of money on the exchange, and Bankman-Fried spent a lot of money on a lot of things.
When things went south and the crypto market tanked, and news came out about FTX’s bad balance sheet, the company failed. Importantly, when it failed, those customers did not get their money back. And that’s why, in incredibly simplified terms, Bankman-Fried got arrested.
And that’s why the jury found him guilty so quickly.
Bankman-Fried’s main defense had been that if his lieutenants had behaved differently, his companies would not have gone bankrupt as a result of bad bets.
The prosecution maintains that this was irrelevant — what mattered, with respect to the fraud Bankman-Fried is charged with, was that those bad bets were made using misappropriated customer money.
It’s easy to see who ended up being right.