Appearing in court on Thursday fresh from his extradition from the Bahamas, Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of ill-fated cryptocurrency exchange FTX, received a judge’s orders that he will be released on $250 million bond and confined to his parents’ Palo Alto home.
Bankman-Fried will also have to surrender his passport and gain governmental approval for any expenses above $1,000, th judge ruled. As reported by the New York Times, a federal magistrate judge warned immediate arrest and steep financial responsibility for Bankman-Fried’s parents if he fails to make future court appearances or violates any conditions; he will also be monitored using a bracelet placed on him before leaving the courthouse.
Bankman-Fried’s arrival in the U.S. follows a chaotic and delayed ordeal earlier this week, with the young executive moving between court and prison in the Bahamas on Monday, initially challenging and then agreeing to extradition, against legal advice. First arrested in his luxury apartment complex, he’d been held in custody in the Bahamas since December 12.
Federal prosecutors have indicted Bankman-Fried on eight criminal charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy by misusing customer funds, according to CNN. He could face up to 115 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
The prosecution will make use of multiple cooperating witnesses and thousands of pages of financial records, with U.S. Attorney Damian Williams noting that charges had also been filed against Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, both of whom entered guilty pleas.
Statement of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams on U.S. v. Samuel Bankman-Fried, Caroline Ellison, and Gary Wang pic.twitter.com/u1y4cs3Koz
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) December 22, 2022
In addition to allegedly misusing customer deposits held in FTX to cover expenses for Alamada Research, his crypto-trading hedge fund, Bankman-Fried also stands accused of violating federal election laws by making political donations in excess of federal legal limits. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler denounced the “veneer of legitimacy,” FTX operated behind, calling Bankman-Fried’s operation “a house of cards built on a foundation of deception,” in a statement made earlier this month.
The lavish spending that coincided with Bankman-Fried’s alleged fraud allowed Alameda to function with a limitless line of credit, despite a negative balance in its FTX customer account; Bankman-Fried also executed loans from Alameda in excess of $1.3 billion between 2020 and 2022. Following FTX’s collapse, Bankman-Fried characterized his fall from grace as the result of hubris, with any fraud being accidental.
“When you look at the classic Bernie Madoff story, there was no real business there… FTX—that was a real business,” he told George Stephanopoulos in an interview on Good Morning America earlier this month.
In a statement responding to Bankman-Fried’s extradition and Ellison and Wang’s guilty pleas, FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said, “No matter how fraudsters dress it up or sell the scam, we will continue to make every effort to ensure those responsible for the scheme are held accountable in our criminal justice system.”