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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 22, 2022

United States Attorney Announces Extradition Of FTX Founder Samuel Bankman-Fried To The United States And Guilty Pleas Of Former CEO Of Alameda Research And Former Chief Technology Officer Of FTX

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the extradition of SAMUEL BANKMAN-FRIED, a/k/a “SBF,” yesterday from the Bahamas.[1] 

Also unsealed are the guilty pleas of CAROLINE ELLISON, former CEO of Alameda Research, and GARY WANG, co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer of FTX.  ELLISON and WANG pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams on December 19, 2022, to charges arising from their participation in schemes to defraud FTX’s customers and investors, and related crimes, and are cooperating with the Government.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Last week, we announced charges against Samuel Bankman-Fried for a sweeping fraud scheme that contributed to FTX’s collapse and for a campaign finance scheme that sought to influence public policy in Washington.  As I said last week, this investigation is very much ongoing, and it’s moving very quickly.  I also said that last week’s announcement would not be our last, and let me be clear once again, neither is today’s.” 

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “With the pleas announced today, Ms. Ellison and Mr. Wang admitted they were willing participants in schemes to defraud FTX.com's customers and backers out of their money.  The FBI will continue to seek justice for the victims of this case.  No matter how fraudsters dress it up or sell the scam, we will continue to make every effort to ensure those responsible for the scheme are held accountable in our criminal justice system.”

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CAROLINE ELLISON, 28, is charged with and has pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; two counts of wire fraud, each of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

GARY WANG, 29, is charged with and has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge. 

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the FBI and thanked the FBI for its partnership in the extradition of Mr. Bankman-Fried and its investigation of wrongdoing associated with Alameda Research and FTX.  Mr. Williams also thanked the Bahamas’ government as well as the United States Embassy in the Bahamas for their extraordinary efforts in the arrest and return of the defendant to the United States to face these charges.  He also expressed appreciation for the assistance of the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicolas Roos and Danielle Sassoon are in charge of the prosecution.  The Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel Raymond and Thane Rehn also contributed to the investigation.

The allegations in the Indictment against BANKMAN-FRIED are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] The charges against BANKMAN-FRIED are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
22-407
Updated December 22, 2022