Sam Bankman FREED On $250 Million Bond, Has To Live With Parents, Be Their Butler
We were sick of Sam Bankman-Fried before we knew what exactly he was accused of doing, because all we knew was that it involved cryptocurrency and fraud — which are synonymous. Then he went and got arrested at his luxo-home in the Bahamas, and we had to go and write about the 30-year-old plunderkind, and our opinion of him only got worse. He ran his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, into the ground, leaving investors stranded and taking down other companies with FTX's failure, and he was charged by the feds with all sorts of criming, eight big counts of defrauding customers, money laundering, and also violating campaign finance laws by illegally exceeding campaign donation limits by giving other people money to donate. That's Dinesh D'Souza-style frauding!
Bankman-Fried was indicted for a scheme in which he took customer's investments in FTX and moved the funds, without customers' knowledge, into his private crypto fund, Alameda Research, which is illegal even though he wanted the money. Following his arrest on December 12, he agreed to be extradited to the US and was flown Wednesday night to New York for an initial court appearance.
At that hearing Thursday, he didn't have to enter a plea yet; the court allowed him to be released on a bail package worth $250 million. Apparently he found some change under the couch. We hope the bail package didn't include any IOUs against FTX stock, seeing as how the company is now bankrupt and Bankboy was replaced as CEO, presumably by someone who is allowed to drive without a learner's permit. Apparently the real security for the bond is his parents' home.
And speaking of his parents' home, Buzzfeed News reports that under the terms of his release, Bankman-Fried "will be confined to his parents' home in Palo Alto, California, while he awaits trial." We're fairly certain that under the Eighth Amendment, his parents cannot be required by the court to address him as "you little shit." In this case, we probably don't need to worry he'll experience cruel and unusual conditions. Is there anything in the Constitution outlawing posh and indulgent pretrial confinement?
Also too, Buzzfeed News adds, Thursday night,
US Attorney Damian Williams announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s top executives, FTX cofounder Gary Wang, 29, and former Alameda co-CEO Caroline Ellison, 28, had pleaded guilty to federal criminal fraud charges and were cooperating with the prosecution against Bankman-Fried. Wang and Ellison had shared a mansion with Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas, and Ellison and Bankman-Fried reportedly had been romantically involved.
The SEC complaint says that Bankman-Fried told the company's codemonkeys to write software that would let Alameda shift funds out of FTX customers' accounts without their knowledge, which is very clever and completely illegal.
Also also too, the Washington Post reports that a bunch of journalism nonprofits have decided to return funds that Bankman-Fried had donated to them through his family's foundation, "Building a Stronger Future." ProPublica said Tuesday it would be returning $1.6 million, which it had already frozen when FTX went belly-up. The Post notes that the donation "was part of a $5 million, three-year grant intended to subsidize public health, biosecurity and coronavirus reporting, which the nonprofit said it will find other ways to fund."
Vox Media will also return "nearly all" of a $200,000 grant it received from the foundation in August, but said it had already spent $14,000 on a reporting project on "climate change, global poverty and other societal challenges." No word on whether the reporting will be revised to add "grifty tech schmucks" to the list of social dangers. Vox said it will give the money back "if and when a restitution fund is created," and presumably after any restitution account has been independently checked for backdoor software.
And then there's the Intercept, which received $500,000 in September as part of a planned $4 million donation from the foundation, but is still "evaluating" what to do with the money. A spokesperson for the journalism nonprofit said, "At this time, we are still gathering the information we need to make a principled decision in accordance with our mission and values," to which everyone who's still on Twitter said Oh, for Fuckssake, you can't keep that! Like, even the QAnon trolls who have returned to the platform.
A fundraising email from the Intercept last month said that losing the funding had led to "a significant hole in our budget." Not a donor myself (I do give to ProPublica) but if I were, I'd be more inclined to help out if the Intercept returned the tainted dough. (Whoa-oh-oh, tainted dough.)
In conclusion, please help out Yr Wonkette if you can, but only if you can afford it and you're not a stinky criminal cryptogrifter bro. We have some standards.
[Buzzfeed News / WaPo]
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