How Sam Bankman-Fried Ended Up in Jail

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How Sam Bankman-Fried Ended Up in Jail

The character of Sam Bankman-Fried’s conduct on the helm of FTX will face intense scrutiny at trial, however his alleged habits after stepping down is what finally earned him a spot on the Metropolitan Detention Middle (MDC) in Brooklyn in August.

A bail settlement meant Bankman-Fried was allowed to organize his protection towards prison fraud expenses below home arrest at his dad and mom’ California residence. However the sudden change of surroundings to a Brooklyn jail got here at an important time, Kevin O’Brien of Ford O’Brien Landy LLP informed Decrypt.

“The previous few months—that’s crunch time,” he stated. “The ancient times actually would not matter, however he must be focussing on particular witnesses and questions now.”

O’Brien, a former assistant U.S. lawyer specializing in white-collar prison protection, stated Bankman-Fried’s tether to the MDC will pressure him and his legal professionals. Because the case develops, the previous crypto mogul’s availability will probably be paramount, O’Brien stated.

“He will have to assist them minimize by all of the unimportant element that the federal government’s going throw at them,” he stated. “How are [his lawyers] going to navigate all these things with out his energetic assist?”

Bankman-Fried’s bail was revoked by U.S. District Decide Lewis Kaplan over witness tampering issues. And on Thursday, Kaplan ordered that Bankman-Fried will stay in jail all through the length of his trial.

One of many largest crypto exchanges on the time of its collapse, FTX couldn’t fulfill buyer withdrawals final November after a considerable drop within the value of FTT—the agency’s flimsy trade token—sparked a deadly flurry of withdrawals.

After stepping down as FTX’s CEO, Bankman-Fried was arrested within the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S. His October trial issues seven conspiracy and fraud expenses. He and FTX’s interior circle are accused of misusing billions of {dollars} of buyer funds.

Earlier than Bankman-Fried’s journey to the MDC, snippets of non-public writings from his one-time lover and former Alameda Analysis CEO, Caroline Ellison, drew eyeballs within the New York Instances. As soon as answerable for FTX’s sister agency, she has pleaded responsible to fraud expenses and is anticipated to testify towards Bankman-Fried.

Ellison reportedly wrote: “Working Alameda would not really feel like one thing I’m that comparatively advantaged at or nicely suited to do.” Federal prosecutors stated that it was Bankman-Fried who positioned that data in reporters’ fingers to “discredit” her.

They declare that the disgraced crypto mogul has tried to affect the testimony of witnesses a minimum of twice. Nonetheless, issues that finally landed Bankman-Fried again in jail adopted different purple flags.


On the identical day that Bankman-Fried was arraigned, and pleaded not responsible to a number of expenses, his bail settlement was modified to ban him from accessing funds from FTX or Alameda Analysis. The week earlier than, $1.7 million price of crypto linked to Alameda had discovered its strategy to coin mixers, which masks the trail of funds.

“None of those are me,” Bankman-Fried stated on Twitter on the time. “I am not and could not be shifting any of these funds; I haven’t got entry to them anymore.”

Further modifications to Bankman-Fried’s bail settlement have been requested that month after Bankman-Fried allegedly contacted the overall counsel of FTX US by the encrypted messaging utility Sign.

“I might actually like to reconnect and see if there’s a manner for us to have a constructive relationship, use one another as sources when doable, or a minimum of vet issues with one another,” federal prosecutors alleged Bankman-Fried wrote.

Highlighting Bankman-Fried’s want to “vet issues,” it was one of many first occasions witness tampering issues have been raised. In a four-page submitting, federal prosecutors claimed that Bankman-Fried had tried to contact different present and former FTX workers too.

Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals pushed again towards the characterization. They stated their shopper’s encrypted outreach was “merely an innocuous try to supply help in FTX’s chapter course of and doesn’t mirror misconduct.”

Restrictions that banned Bankman-Fried from contacting FTX and Alameda workers by encrypted messages have been subsequently put in place.


The following very month, Bankman-Fried’s use of a VPN raised eyebrows in court docket. The core concern was {that a} VPN enabled Bankman-Fried to obscure his digital whereabouts, federal prosecutors expressed.

As they clarify, Bankman-Fried coulduse a VPN to entry worldwide crypto exchanges minimize off to U.S. customers, discretely ship messages, or entry the darkish internet. 

Bankman-Fried’s counsel claimed the FTX founder had used a VPN to observe NFL playoff video games and the Tremendous Bowl with a subscription he purchased within the Bahamas, inserting his digital footprint there for leisure functions.

Decide Kaplan didn’t purchase it, and he outlawed Bankman-Fried’s use of a VPN, aside from cases the place the FTX founder wanted one to entry a database hosted on Amazon Net Providers to organize for his trial.


By the top of March, Bankman-Fried’s bail settlement had been modified 4 occasions. An order from Decide Kaplan outlined new circumstances for the FTX founder, together with a laptop computer with restricted web entry and a telephone that would solely make calls and texts.

As much as that time, the one modification made that didn’t concern Bankman-Fried’s suspected or alleged conduct was administrative in nature and associated to 2 people who backed his bond alongside his dad and mom.

Andreas Paepcke, a senior analysis scientist at Stanford College, and Larry Kramer, the previous dean of Stanford Legislation Faculty, had put up $200,000 and $500,000, respectively—however they wanted to signal separate look bonds in January.


A month earlier than his bail was revoked, the disgraced crypto mogul sought to make his dad and mom’ residence a extra hospitable place. His counsel put forth an inventory of visitors—filed below seal—that would go to him with out signing a safety log or having a guard current.

Shut buddies, colleagues, and family assist have been among the many people that Bankman-Fried sought unfettered entry to. For now, they’ll doubtless must abide by the MDC’s visitation insurance policies or attempt to catch him on the courthouse.

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