Sam Bankman-Fried Arrives in US to ‘Face the Music’ of Federal Fraud Charges
SBF landed in New York on Wednesday evening to face multiple federal wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering charges.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced FTX founder facing eight criminal fraud charges from the Department of Justice, landed at Westchester County Airport in New York on Wednesday night after extradition from The Bahamas, according to ABC News and other media reports from the scene.
While he was in the air, the Southern District of New York announced that two of SBF’s closest allies have flipped on him: FTX co-founder Gary Wang and the ex-CEO of Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison, secured their cooperation in the investigation and pleaded guilty to their own charges.
The Office of the Attorney General of The Bahamas announced Bankman-Fried’s scheduled departure from the island nation on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, confirming Tuesday reports that the extradition process had moved forward.
A Bahamian judge signed the order to hand over Bankman-Fried to U.S. authorities on Tuesday after SBF on Monday suddenly waived his earlier exercised right to contest extradition, and said he would not fight an extradition order after all.
Avoiding a process that could take years, Bankman-Fried fast-tracked his removal from the Bahamas. Acting corrections commissioner Doan Cleare believes he did this to avoid an extended stay in the notorious Fox Hill prison, the island nation’s only prison.
Fox Hill has been the focus of human rights investigations due to its history of overcrowding and deplorable conditions. Cleare pushed back on these reports on Tuesday, describing Bankman-Fried as “in good spirits” but ready to “face the music” in the U.S.
Now that Bankman-Fried is in U.S. custody, his trial on several counts of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy can proceed.
SBF was first arrested by Bahamian police on December 12 at the request of the United States. That day, the Justice Department filed charges against the former billionaire. Labeling Bankman-Fried a flight risk, a Bahamian judge denied bail and remanded him into custody.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also filed charges against Bankman-Fried on December 13, accusing him of violating anti-fraud provisions of both the Securities Exchange Act of 1933 and 1934.
Bankman-Fried has been charged with wire fraud, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering. The 30-year-old could spend the rest of his life in federal prison if found guilty.
“Because so much money is involved in this case—literally hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions—SBF’s recommended ‘sentencing range’ under the United States Sentencing Guidelines will be extremely high—indeed, probably off the map,” Miriam Baer, Vice Dean at Brooklyn Law School, told us at the time of Bankman-Fried’s arrest.