Last week, as FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was being extradited to the United States from the Bahamas, two of his former business partners pleaded guilty to multiple charges of fraud and conspiracy.
“I am truly sorry for what I did,” Ellison told the court. “I knew that it was wrong.”
Another associate, Gary Wang, FTX’s former chief technology officer, pleaded guilty to four counts of similar charges.
Home for the holidays
Both Ellison and Wang are cooperating with federal prosecutors, making them potentially damning witnesses against Bankman-Fried, who has repeatedly denied intentionally defrauding customers and investors.
Although $250 million is an extraordinary sum, Bankman-Fried won’t have to pay it unless he violates the terms of his bail agreement or fails to show up to court. The atypical bail plan was agreed to as part of his commitment to waive his extradition fight.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team confirmed to CNN Business that he had arrived in Palo Alto and was home with his parents. His lawyer declined to comment on the guilty pleas by Ellison and Wang.
The federal judge Thursday said Bankman-Fried would be arraigned on eight criminal counts including fraud and conspiracy at an unspecified future date.
Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried orchestrated “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” stealing billions of dollars from FTX customers to cover losses at Alameda and to enrich himself. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
— CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed reporting.