Federal prosecutors have announced four more criminal charges against Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the crypto trading platform FTX, expanding his potential liability in what authorities allege is a billion dollar fraud.
Bankman-Fried was charged in December in an eight-count indictment. On Thursday an indictment was unsealed adding new charges for a total of 12-counts, including conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and securities fraud.
Bankman-Fried, who was released on a $250 million bond, previously pleaded not guilty to charges announced in December, including one count of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. At the time he was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and wire fraud and conspiring to violate US campaign finance laws by making political donations through straw donors.
The FTX founder made more than 300 illegal political contributions through straw donors totaling tens of millions of dollars paid for by Alameda and FTX funds, according to a newly unsealed indictment.
Despite SBF personally becoming one of the largest publicly reported political donors for the 2022 midterm elections, he fraudulently made donations ahead of the midterms in the names of two FTC executives to further his influence, the court filing says.
Bankman-Fried strategized to make political donations ranging the political spectrum, not wanting to appear left-leaning partisan or to have his name publicly attached to Republican candidates, the indictment says, so he’d make certain contributions in his executives’ names who he thought better fit the bill.
SBF wanted to keep Republican contributions “dark,” according to the indictment, so those donations were made via an FTX executive identified only as CC-2 in the indictment, who publicly aligned themselves with conservatives.
Bankman-Fried conspired to contribute “at least a million dollars” to a super PAC that was supporting a candidate running for a United States Congressional seat and appeared to be affiliated with pro-LGBTQ issues, the indictment says.
That contribution was made in another FTX executive’s name because “there was not anyone ‘trusted at FTX [who was] bi/gay” in a position to make the contribution,” the new indictment says.
Despite the employee’s discomfort with the situation a political consultant working for SBF told the executive, identified in the indictment as CC-1, “in general, you being the center left face of our spending will mean you giving to a lot of woke shit for transactional purposes.”
In another instance shortly before the 2022 midterm elections, an FTX employee was directed to wire $107,000 from Bankman-Fried’s account to the New York State Democratic Committee via that FTX executive.
The executive ultimately became in name one of the largest Democratic donors in the 2022 midterm elections, furthering Bankman-Fried’s agenda with donations the executives wouldn’t have made on their own accord, the filing says.
In November 2022 before the impending indictment came down, that executive voiced concern to SBF in chat messages about “maybe 80m” of “donations/personal/etc” that went through his bank account in his name. The two discussed plans to conceal the wire transfers on the company books but ultimately never made the transactions that would have further concealed the campaign finance scheme, the indictment says.
SBF planned the political contributions scheme with co-conspirators in an auto-deleting messaging chat called “donation processing,” the indictment says.
The donations were made with money from Alameda bank accounts including FTX customers funds that were then transferred to the straw donors’ personal accounts that made the contributions. The outgoing transfers were concealed in internal company records as expenses or loans to those executives.
No other co-conspirators are charged in the new indictment unsealed Thursday.
It is not yet clear when SBF will be arraigned on the four new charges listed in the 12-count indictment.