FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried was hit Thursday with four new criminal charges, including ones related to commodities fraud and making unlawful political contributions, in a superseding indictment filed in New York federal court. A source familiar with the new counts said that SBF, as he is popularly known, could face an additional 40 years in prison if convicted in the case, where he is accused of "multiple schemes to defraud." CNBC reports: The charging document lays out how Bankman-Fried allegedly operated an illegal straw donor scheme as he moved to use customers funds to run a multimillion-dollar political influence campaign. Bankman-Fried and fellow FTX executives combined to contribute more than $70 million toward the 2022 midterm elections, according to campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets. The indictment claims that Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators "made over 300 political contributions, totaling tens of millions of dollars, that were unlawful because they were made in the name of a straw donor or paid for with corporate funds." "To avoid certain contributions being publicly reported in his name, Bankman-Fried conspired to and did have certain political contributions made in the names of two other FTX executives," the new filing claims.
The document refers to one such example, in 2022, when Bankman-Fried and "others agreed that he and his co-conspirators should 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 group of conspirators, according to the document, selected an individual only identified in the document as "CC-1" or co-conspirator 1, to be the donor. However, in 2022, then-FTX Director of Engineering Nishad Singh contributed $1.1 million to the LGBTQ Victory Fund Federal PAC, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
SBF’s alleged campaign finance scheme included efforts to keep his contributions to Republicans "dark," according to the new indictment. And, the alleged straw donor scheme was coordinated, at least in part, "through an encrypted, auto-deleting Signal chat called ‘Donation Processing,’" according to the indictment. The document says another unnamed co-conspirator "who publicly aligned himself with conservatives, made contributions to Republican candidates that were directed by Bankman-Fried and funded by Alameda," the crypto tycoon’s hedge fund. Again, the document does do not name the alleged second FTX co-conspirator who contributed to Republican candidates.
The indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried and his allies allegedly tried to "further conceal the scheme" by recording "the outgoing wire transfers from Alameda to individuals’ bank accounts for purposes of making contributions as Alameda ‘loans’ or ‘expenses.’" The document says that "while employees at Alameda generally tracked loans to executives, the transfers to Bankman-Fried, CC-1, and CC-2 in the months before the 2022 midterm elections were not recorded on internal Alameda tracking spreadsheets." The internal Alameda spreadsheets, however, "noted over $100 million in political contributions, even though FEC records reflect no political contributions by Alameda for the 2022 midterm elections to candidates or PACs."
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