NEW YORK (AP) — Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried said his parents signed a $250 million bond to protect him while he awaits trial for defrauding and looting investors. He walked out of a Manhattan courthouse on Thursday after agreeing to stay in his California home. A customer deposits into his FTX trading platform.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Roos said in federal court that 30-year-old Bankman-Fried “committed fraud on an epic scale.” Roos offered strict bail conditions, including $250 million in bail (believed to be the largest federal pretrial bond ever) and house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto. .
Roos said a key reason for granting bail was that Bankman-Fried, who was imprisoned in the Bahamas, agreed to be extradited to the United States.
After reuniting with his parents and lawyers inside the courthouse, Bankman-Fried shook hands with supporters in a seemingly taciturn fashion before walking out the door. The photographer and video crew rushed to pick him up in the car.
Magistrate Justice Gabriel W. Gollenstein agreed to bail and house arrest, but required Bankman-Fried to wear an electronic surveillance bracelet before leaving court. Roos recommended fitting it in California on Friday.
Bankman-Fried entered the courtroom in a suit and tie and had his ankles tied when he took his seat among the lawyers. He spoke nothing during the hearing except to answer the judge. Near the end, he was asked by his Gorenstein if he understood that if he chose to flee, he would be arrested and owed $250 million.
“Yes, yes,” Bankman-Fried replied.
Shortly thereafter, the hearing ended and Bankman-Fried, who had his hands in his front trouser pockets, was escorted out by two U.S. Marshals. His next trial date he was scheduled for January 3rd.
His bail conditions also require that he not open new lines of credit, start a business, or make financial transactions exceeding $1,000 without government or court approval.
Roos said the bonds were to be secured by his family’s equity and the signatures of his parents and two other financial officers with substantial assets. The bail was described as a “guarantee letter” and no collateral was required to meet the bail.
Bankman-Fried arrested in Bahamas He flew to New York late Wednesday after deciding not to challenge his extradition last week..
While he was on the air, federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s closest business associates had also been charged and pleaded guilty in secret on Monday.
Carolyn Ellison, 28, former chief executive of Bankman-Fried trading firm Alameda Research, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, 29, have been charged with wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodity fraud. pleaded guilty.
U.S. Attorney Damien Williams said in a video statement that both sides were cooperating with investigators and had agreed to help prosecute. I warned
“If you were complicit in cheating on FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead,” he said. “We are moving quickly and our patience is not forever.”
Prosecutors and regulators allege Bankman-Fried was at the center of several illegal schemes to use the money of customers and investors for personal gain. If convicted on all counts, he faces the possibility of decades in prison.
In a series of interviews before his arrest, Bankman-Fried said he never intended to defraud anyone.
Bankman-Fried used money illegally stolen from FTX customers to enable trading on Alameda, spent lavishly on real estate, and made millions campaigning for US politicians charged with a crime.
Founded in 2019, FTX has leapfrogged the cryptocurrency investment phenomenon and rapidly become one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world. Seeking customers beyond the tech world, it hired comic book actor and author Larry David to star in TV ads that aired during the Super Bowl, promoting cryptocurrency as the next big thing.
But Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire suddenly collapsed In early November, customers began to withdraw their deposits en masse amid media reports questioning some of the company’s financial arrangements.