U.S. law enforcement officials took disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried into custody on Wednesday to face criminal charges stemming from the collapse of the company.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Bankman-Fried was being flown to New York to face the charges in the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last month after users discovered that the company was intertwined with sister firm Alameda Research; both were controlled by Bankman-Fried and a group of amateur executives working from a luxury penthouse in the Bahamas. The disgraced entrepreneur was arrested this week by authorities in the island nation, where his companies were headquartered, as U.S. securities regulators and federal law enforcement officials accused him of fraud.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have since tried to negotiate a bail agreement that would allow the 30-year-old to be released pending trial; they were unsuccessful trying to get him bail while he was kept in custody in a jail in the Bahamas.
A Manhattan federal grand jury charged Bankman-Fried with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission and commit campaign finance violations, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried misappropriated billions of dollars of customer funds deposited into the cryptocurrency exchange that he founded, FTX, and lied to investors and lenders about the company and about his cryptocurrency hedge fund Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators were deceiving and conning customers of FTX from the inception of the company, prosecutors said. He allegedly used billions of dollars from customers for his own personal use, to repay loans owed by Alameda Research, and to donate millions of dollars to political campaigns. Bankman-Fried was the Democrats’ second largest donor this last political cycle, donating tens of millions of dollars to Democrat candidates and left-wing groups.
Bankman-Fried also defrauded lenders to Alameda Research and equity investors in FTX by hiding his misuse of customer deposits, prosecutors alleged. Bankman-Fried tried to conceal the millions he gave to politicians by making his co-conspirators make the contributions under their names, say prosecutors.