On Thursday, a 12-member jury comprising of three men and nine women found Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the FTX crypto exchange, guilty.
The former crypto mogul’s criminal case had been making headlines and he was convicted of seven charges of conspiracy and fraud.
While the jury has delivered its verdict, it could be some time before Bankman-Fried’s sentence is determined by US Judge Lewis Kaplan.
The maximum sentence that can be given to the former crypto billionaire is 115 years. Mark Cohen, the lead attorney representing Bankman-Fried, expressed disappointment with the outcome.
He stated that they respected the decision of the jury, but their client maintains his innocence and would continue to fight the charges brought against him vigorously.
Throughout his trial that had taken place in the Southern District of New York, Bankman-Fried and his defense team had tried to convince the jury of his innocence.
He had been accused of orchestrating a sweeping scheme to misappropriate customer funds worth $10 billion and committing fraud.
According to prosecutors, the one-time CEO had stolen customer funds worth billions of dollars through Alameda Research, a trading firm that he had helped establish.
Bankman-Fried had also been accused of lying to FTX customers and investors, along with Alameda’s lenders. The prosecutors were able to convince the jury of same.
The decision of the jury comes almost a year after the downfall of the FTX crypto exchange. When it imploded last November, the entire crypto market had reeled with the shock.
Crypto prices had taken a hit, including Bitcoin, which dropped to $15,750, while the entire industry had been dealt a reputational black eye.
During the trial, some members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle testified against testified against him. This included co-founder of FTX, Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research.
Nishad Singh, the former head of engineering at FTX, also testified. All of them claimed that they had engaged in criminal activity on the behest of Bankman-Fried.
The FTX insiders were cooperating with the government after pleading guilty, as they hope to get a lenient sentence for the charges they are facing.
Wang could see a maximum sentence of 50 years, Singh may be facing 75 years in prison, while Ellison is facing 110 years.
During the trial, Bankman-Fried himself opted to testify to convince the jury that he had not committed fraud and attempted to shift away the blame of the collapse from himself.
However, during the cross-examination of the government, there were 140 times that he could not recall details related to the time when he had been CEO.
He also could not recall if he had ever claimed that his company was safe. At the height of his influence, Bankman-Fried had been compared with John Pierpont Morgan and Warren Buffet.
This was because he had swooped in to save a number of struggling crypto companies last summer when the industry had come under pressure.
But, with his trial, he was then compared with fraudsters like Elizabeth Holmes and Bernie Madoff.