Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried can issue $250 million (nearly Rs 2,070 crore) in bonds and live in his parents’ home in California while he awaits trial on charges he defrauded investors on his FTX trading platform and plundered customer deposits, a judge said Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos said in Manhattan U.S. District Court that Bankman-Fried, 30, “committed an epic fraud.” Bail conditions, including a $250 million bond and house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California.
A big reason for granting bail was Bankman-Fried’s agreement to waive extradition, Roos said.
Magistrate Gabriel W Gorenstein granted bail and approved the offer of house arrest. He also said Bankman-Fried was required to wear an electronic surveillance wristband before leaving the Manhattan courthouse.
Bankman-Fried sat among his lawyers in court in a suit and tie. Two U.S. Marshals sat behind him.
Bankman-Fried, who was arrested in the Bahamas last week, was flown to New York late Wednesday after deciding not to challenge his extradition.
While he was on the air, U.S. Attorneys in Manhattan announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s closest business associates were also charged and secretly pleaded guilty.
Carolyn Ellison, 28, former CEO of Bankman-Fried’s trading firm Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, 29, who co-founded SoarPleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and commodities fraud.
Both are cooperating with investigators and have agreed to assist with any prosecution, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a video statement. He warned others who facilitated the alleged fraud to come forward.
“If you were involved in wrongdoing by FTX or Alameda, now is the time to take action,” he said. “We are moving quickly and our patience is not eternal.”
Prosecutors and regulators believe Bankman-Fried was at the center of several illegal schemes to use client and investor funds for personal gain. If convicted on all counts, he faces the possibility of decades in prison.
In a series of interviews before his arrest, Bankman-Fried said he never intended to deceive anyone.
Bankman-Fried is accused of using money illegally taken from FTX clients to trade in Alameda, spend heavily on real estate, and make millions of dollars in campaign contributions to American politicians.
Founded in 2019, FTX quickly pushed the cryptocurrency investment phenomenon to a peak and became one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world. Seeking clients outside the tech world, it hired comedian and author Larry David to appear in a TV ad that aired during the Super Bowl touting cryptocurrencies as the next big thing.
However, Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency empire collapsed abruptly in early November when reports questioned some of its financial arrangements, leading to mass withdrawals of deposits by customers.