Sam Bankman-Fried to submit a not guilty plea in FTX fraud case

Sam Bankman-Fried extradition

Sam Bankman-Fried is anticipated to submit a not guilty plea on Tuesday in response to charges that he defrauded investors in his now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

In what prosecutors have dubbed an unprecedented scam, Bankman-Fried is accused of stealing billions of dollars in FTX client deposits to maintain his Alameda Research hedge fund, buy real estate, and make millions in political contributions.

He is due to appear before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan at 2:00 p.m. EST (1900 GMT). Bankman-Fried’s parents who co-signed his $250 million bond in December, have been harassed and intimidated, his attorneys earlier on Tuesday told Kaplan.

Last week, a source with knowledge of the situation informed Reuters that Bankman-Fried will enter a not guilty plea. A lawyer for Bankman-Fried did not reply to a request for comment. It is not unusual for criminal defendants to initially plead not guilty. At a later time, defendants are able to alter their plea.

The Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried resided and the exchange was headquartered, was where he was extradited last month.

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Since his release on bond, Bankman-Fried has been subject to electronic monitoring and required to live with his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, both professors at Stanford Law School in California.

In a letter, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers asked Kaplan to shield the names of two remaining sureties for the bond from public disclosure, citing the “steady stream of threatening correspondence, including a desire that they suffer physical harm” that his parents had received in recent weeks.

The attorneys, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, said that the fear that other sureties might be treated similarly outweighed any public right to access their identities. Their request has not yet been decided by Kaplan.

Six counts of conspiracy, including to launder money and commit campaign finance violations and two counts of wire fraud have been brought against Bankman-Fried. If found guilty, he may spend up to 115 years in jail.