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FTX Founder Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty to 'Wide-Ranging Fraud'

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday to criminal charges alleging the disgraced crypto industry titan led a massive international scheme that siphoned billions of dollars from consumers and investors. The 30-year-old onetime political megadonor faces eight counts of wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations and could spend decades in prison if he’s convicted, Politico reports. Federal prosecutor Danielle Sassoon said the evidence will show Bankman-Fried oversaw a “wide-ranging fraud” that used billions of dollars in FTX customer crypto assets to prop up his hedge fund, Alameda Research. Stolen customer funds were routinely laundered through philanthropic donations, political contributions and venture investments, Sassoon said. Judge Lewis Kaplan set a tentative trial date of Oct. 2. Prosecutors are expected to provide evidence to Bankman-Fried’s defense team within the next four weeks, though more could be uncovered as investigators continue to dig through his complex network of investments and holding companies.

Before FTX’s bankruptcy in November and his subsequent arrest in the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried was one of the crypto industry’s most celebrated success stories. The MIT graduate was a regular presence in Washington, D.C., and, along with other FTX executives, a prominent political donor who spent millions on an influence campaign designed to sway lawmakers and regulators on regulation. His downfall led to a collapse in crypto prices that destabilized several major industry startups, including prominent digital asset lenders and brokerages that provide services to millions of retail investors. Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas last month at the request of federal prosecutors. He was extradited and released on a $250 million bond to his parents’ home in California.


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