According to court records, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to enter a plea in his multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency fraud case next week.
The 30-year-old is being held on $250 million bail and is being held in his parents’ California home with an electronic monitoring bracelet. He is charged with two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy, including conspiring to launder money and violate campaign finance laws.
If convicted on all counts, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas, where FTX is incorporated, on December 12 and extradited to the United States last week.
Bankman-Fried was a cryptocurrency darling, on track to become the world’s first trillionaire, until his $32 billion firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 11.
Business partners Carolyn Ellison, 28, and Gary Wang, 29, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in Manhattan Federal Court and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for reduced sentences.
Bankman-Fried was replaced as CEO of FTX by John Ray III, who testified before the House Financial Services Committee about numerous irregularities and unethical practises.
Ray, whose job it is to clean up the company’s mess, stated on December 13 that the company’s demise appears to have resulted from “the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are required for a company that is entrusted with other people’s money or assets.”
Prosecutors claim that Bankman-Fried diverted billions of dollars from customers’ trading funds to expand his crypto empire and pocket the profits.
The $740 million recovered since is a fraction of the company’s $51 billion collateral collapse.
The United States Department of Justice opened an investigation into the theft of $372 million in cryptocurrency just before the company declared bankruptcy on Monday. Bankman-Fried is not one of the suspects.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Manhattan Federal Court has presided over the case since Tuesday, after the original judge recused herself. Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear in court on January 3 and is expected to enter a plea, according to Reuters.