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Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty

Written by Anna TongPublished Jan. 03, 2023 • 11:26am
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan Federal Court after his arraignment and bail hearings on Dec. 22, 2022. | David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who has been under house arrest at his parents’ Stanford campus home, appeared in court today in New York and pleaded not guilty to charges that he stole customer deposits on his cryptocurrency trading platform.

A media circus engulfed Bankman-Fried and his parents as he entered the Manhattan courtroom. The swarm was so thick that his mother, a Stanford law professor, was unable to exit their vehicle and fell onto the wet pavement and Bankman-Fried had to be “carried by his lapels through the mob.”

Once inside the courtroom, he pleaded not guilty to an eight-count indictment in Federal District Court, which charged him with defrauding customers and lenders and conspiring to violate federal campaign finance laws.

The Bay Area native was arrested in the Bahamas earlier in December, and extradited to the United States later that month. He was then released on a $250 million bond and ordered to await trial at his professor parents’ home on Stanford campus.

The family has been under fire.

In a letter to the judge, lawyers wrote that in recent weeks Bankman-Fried’s parents have become the target of “intense media scrutiny, harassment, and threats, including communications expressing a desire that they suffer physical harm.”

Stanford University shut down the streets around his parents’ home and added extra security. The New York Post reported his family is spending $10,000 a week on private security.

Once deemed the darling of the crypto world, SBF was personally worth $26 billion and reigned over a crypto empire that amassed roughly $16 billion in customer deposits. But in November, the exchange collapsed and filed for bankruptcy amid allegations he mismanaged customer funds—a mistake that cost customers billions of dollars and hit celeb investors like Gisele Bündchen and Mark Zuckerberg.

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