Bitcoin Trader SBF Accused of Fraud Remains In Custody
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 276
SBF, a Bitcoin trader, has been accused of making false and misleading statements by federal prosecutors in the US. In a 13-page document, the US Department of Justice's Southern District of New York claimed that from at least 2019 up until November 2022, SBF "willfully and knowingly" conspired with others to commit wire fraud.
If found guilty on all counts, SBF faces a collective prison sentence of 115 years. "Bankman-Fried was orchestrating a massive, yearslong fraud, diverting billions of dollars of the trading platform’s customer funds for his own personal benefit and to help grow his crypto empire,” the S.E.C.
alleges in its civil complaint. He used customer funds to "make undisclosed venture investments, lavish real estate purchases, and large political donations,” the complaint said. Bahamian prosecutor Franklyn Williams has argued that SBF should not be released due to being a "flight risk", however, SBF's lawyer has disputed this claim and stated that his client's intention to remain in the Bahamas after the collapse of Ftx shows that he has no intention of fleeing.
SBF has requested medication for depression and attention deficit disorder and has asked to be released on a cash bail of $250,000. However, the court's chief magistrate has decided that SBF will remain in custody. It is unclear what specific actions SBF is alleged to have taken in regard to the wire fraud charges.
However, the document states that he and others "knowingly" devised a scheme to defraud individuals and obtain money and property through false and fraudulent means. SBF's lawyer has stated that his client denies any wrongdoing and will fight the charges in court.
An extradition hearing has been set for February 8. SBF's arrest and the accusations against him have sparked discussions within the cryptocurrency community. Many have expressed shock at the severity of the charges and the potential length of the prison sentence.
Others have pointed out that the lack of details in the document makes it difficult to assess the situation. It is uncertain how the case will proceed and what the potential outcome may be for SBF.