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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Jan. 3, 2023: Nearly two weeks after he agreed to be extradited from The Caribbean island of The Bahamas and was released by a Manhattan judge on a $250 million bond, attorneys for Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency executive, today entered a non-guilty plea in a New York Court.

Bankman-Fried, 30, who was ordered to stay with his parents in Palo Alto, Calif., pleaded not guilty to charges that he engaged in widespread fraud and other crimes in Federal District Court.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court, set a tentative trial date of Oct. 2. Bankman-Fried now faces a trial on charges that his fraud led to the collapse of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded, and billions of dollars in customer losses.

He is charged with two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.  He is also charged with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit campaign finance violations, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years.  

Bankman-Fried did not speak at the hearing, and the not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf by one of his lawyers, Mark Cohen. Throughout the court session, which lasted about half an hour, Bankman-Fried, wearing a tie and jacket, sat quietly between his two lawyers, occasionally leaning over to consult with one of them.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is seen arriving at court on December 19, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by MEGA/GC Images)

Bankman-Fried was arrested on Dec. 12 at his luxury apartment in The Bahamas, where FTX was based until its bankruptcy in November. After Mr. Bankman-Fried was extradited on Dec. 19th to the United States, he appeared in court on Dec. 22 in NYC, where he was granted bail under highly restrictive conditions.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court and court filings late last month, “Samuel Bankman-Fried was the founder and chief executive officer of FTX, an international cryptocurrency exchange.  Since 2019, the defendant and his co-conspirators perpetrated a scheme to defraud customers of FTX by misappropriating billions of dollars of those customers’ funds. 

“As alleged, the defendant used billions of dollars of FTX customer funds for his personal use, to make investments and millions of dollars of political contributions to federal political candidates and committees, and to repay billions of dollars in loans owed by Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency hedge fund also founded by the defendant.  Bankman-Fried also allegedly defrauded lenders to Alameda Research and equity investors in FTX by concealing his misuse of customer deposits in financial information that was provided to them. 

“Samuel Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators made millions of dollars in political contributions funded by Alameda Research to federal political candidates and committees in advance of the 2022 election.  To conceal the fact that those contributions were paid for using funds from a corporation and to evade contribution limits and reporting requirements, Bankman-Fried caused contributions to be reported in the names of co-conspirators rather than in the name of the true source of the funds.”

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