From the lavish heights of a Bahamian penthouse, FTX's fallen founder Sam Bankman-Fried's fall from grace has hit rock bottom. Accused of misappropriating billions, his story now reads like a financial crime drama, replete with love letter leaks and desperate bids to sway politicians with stolen cash in a court filing describing it as a “wide-ranging political influence operation.”
“Exploiting the trust of FTX customers, BANKMAN-FRIED misappropriated and embezzled FTX customer deposits, and used billions of dollars in stolen funds for a variety of purposes, including, among other things, to enrich himself; to support the operations of FTX; to fund speculative venture investments; to help fund over a hundred million dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans to seek to influence cryptocurrency regulation; and to pay for Alameda’s operating costs,” reads the indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors paint a vivid picture of the disgraced magnate, allegedly pilfering from unsuspecting FTX customers to bankroll a dizzying array of ventures – from propping up his faltering firms to speculative investing sprees.
Bankman-Fried reportedly used stolen funds to play politics, donating a cool $40 million to primarily Democratic causes ahead of the 2022 midterms. His donation placed him as the runner-up and second-largest donor to Biden's 2020 campaign. Nothing says 'thank you' like four cozy meetings with White House senior advisers months before his companies filed for bankruptcy.
The Department of Justice has thrown the book at Bankman-Fried, charging him with a litany of offenses, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and even conspiracy to commit money laundering. And while campaign finance charges were left on the cutting room floor (apparently, extradition from the Bahamas is trickier than it sounds), Bankman-Fried isn't home-free.
The Daily Wire reported:
According to the superseding indictment, Bankman-Fried also used customer funds for “exorbitant spending” that had nothing to do with the operation of FTX. This spending allegedly included his personal expenses, real estate in the Bahamas, “speculative venture investments,” political spending, and payments to Alameda’s lenders.
Federal prosecutors said that he used FTX customer funds to “make billions of dollars of investments for his own interests and the interests of his businesses.”
While under house arrest, Bankman-Fried is accused of committing witness tampering, allegedly leaking love letters from ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison to a New York Times reporter. The result? A revoked bail and an involuntary relocation from his parent's abode to a jail cell in Manhattan.