Sam Bankman-Fried is a Celebrity Chaser, Says Attorney

Published: Nov 1, 2023
Written By:
Vignesh Karunanidhi
Milk Road Writer

As the fraud trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried continues, federal prosecutors are attempting to convince the jury that the former crypto mogul knowingly misled investors and misused customer funds.

  • Prosecutors allege that SBF took $10 billion in customer deposits to pay for real estate, political donations, and other personal expenses.
  • The government’s case relies heavily on testimony from former Bankman-Fried associates like Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang.
  • In over 140 instances while testifying, Bankman-Fried claimed not to recall details prosecutors asked about.
  • Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried lied about Alameda Research having special privileges on FTX to access customer funds.
  • They also cited evidence that he was aware of multi-billion-dollar holes in FTX’s balance sheet before the collapse.
  • The defense claims Bankman-Fried did not intend to defraud anyone and tried to save FTX as it was failing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos delivered the prosecution’s closing argument on Wednesday, asserting there is “no serious dispute” that billions in customer funds are unaccounted for. “The defendant schemed and lied to get money, which he spent,” Roos told jurors.

Ross calls Bankman-Fried a “celebrity chaser”

Roos pointed to the FTX boss’s luxurious purchases, calling him a “celebrity chaser” who spent customer money on a Bahamas penthouse and his parents’ home. The prosecution says this lavish spending indicates Bankman-Fried knew the money he was taking was ill-gotten.

A key contention is whether Bankman-Fried was aware that Alameda Research was using FTX customer funds to cover its losses. Roos cited evidence that Bankman-Fried gave Alameda special privileges and concealed this from investors. “He had the arrogance to think he could get away with it,” Roos claimed.

SBF faces multiple fraud charges carrying possible life sentences. But the 31-year-old MIT graduate maintains his innocence, testifying he did not misuse funds and tried to save the exchange as it failed. His defense team will deliver their closing argument soon before the case goes to the jury. The high-profile trial could end within days, determining the fate of the man who built a crypto empire that spectacularly crumbled last year.

Vignesh Karunanidhi
Milk Road Writer
Vignesh has been a seasoned professional in the crypto space since 2017. He has been writing for over 5 years and specializes in writing and editing various types of crypto content, including news articles, long-form pieces, and blog posts, all focused on sharing the beauty of blockchain and crypto.