The FTX rigmarole continues and this time, two top executives of the disgraced crypto empire have emerged from silence and are now in the custody of the U.S. authorities.
If proven guilty of their misdeeds, the three masterminds of one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world face a total of 275 years in prison.
Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder and former chief technology officer Gary Wang have pleaded guilty to criminal charges and are now joining hands with federal authorities in the prosecution against former FTX big boss Sam Bankman-Fried.
This year, cryptocurrency investors have been through more than their fair share of unexpected market blowups as a result of tragic news about badly managed crypto ventures.
Authorities have their hands full in pursuing the brains behind a company that has shattered the lives of millions of people.
Damian Williams, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, disclosed in a video statement on Wednesday that both Ellison and Wang have been cooperating with federal prosecutors.
Caroline Ellison & Gary Wang: Top SBF Lieutenants
Ellison and Wang were key sidekicks of Bankman-Fried’s vast corporate structure, which centered largely on the companies he built and oversaw, FTX and Alameda.
Williams added that Bankman-Fried is currently in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and “on his way back” to the United States.
The attorney stated that Caroline Ellison, who dated Bankman-Fried – and Wang were indicted in relation with their involvement in the frauds that resulted in the implosion of FTX.
Williams pointed out that Bankman-Fried will be brought to the SDNY as soon as possible to appear before a judge. He thanked individuals in The Bahamas and the United States for their assistance in the prompt return of the defendants.
The Manhattan legal counsel also thanked the FBI for “moving mountains to get this done.”
The guilty pleas and cooperation agreements by Ellison and Wang were announced after Bankman-Fried departed the Bahamas aboard a government-chartered flight bound for New York, where he is scheduled to face arraignment procedures Thursday.
Statement of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams on U.S. v. Samuel Bankman-Fried, Caroline Ellison, and Gary Wang pic.twitter.com/u1y4cs3Koz
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) December 22, 2022
Bankman-Fried was transferred from the custody of the Bahamas government to U.S. officials after he forfeited his right to a legal extradition inquiry that could have lasted weeks.
He is accused of orchestrating the largest financial scam in U.S. history, which is detailed in an eight-count indictment against him.
Crypto total market cap at $770 billion on the daily chart | Chart: TradingView.com
SBF Ex-GF Caroline Ellison Could Face 110 Years Behind Bars
Williams made himself clear:
“If you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it. We’re moving quickly and our patience is not eternal.”
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed it has also charged Ellison and Wang with fraud for their participation in a multi-year conspiracy to swindle FTX investors.
If found guilty of all seven charges, 28-year-old Caroline Ellison could face up to 110 years in jail.
According to court filings, Wang, 29, faces up to 50 years behind bars for conspiracy to conduct wire fraud and related crimes.
Bankman-Fried, 30, is facing eight counts, including allegedly defrauding investors out of nearly $2 billion by routing cash to his ex-girlfriend Ellison’s crypto hedge company Alameda Research.
He faces 115 years in imprisonment if found guilty.