FTX CEO Facing Wire Fraud, Conspiracy Charges with No Chance of Leniency

• Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried may not be able to offset the two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy he faces with the credits to be received if he enters a guilty plea instead of going to trial.
• Mark Kasten, counsel in Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney’s Blockchain and Crypto Assets practice group, explained that the government often requires defendants to assist in the prosecution of others in order to receive cooperation credit.
• Bankman-Fried could also enter into an agreement similar to what Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang did called an “open plea,” which means “prosecutors did not agree to recommend a specific sentence,” said Kasten.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is set to appear in court in the first days of January to enter a plea regarding two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy. Mark Kasten, counsel in Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney’s Blockchain and Crypto Assets practice group, explained that the government often requires defendants to assist in the prosecution of others in order to receive cooperation credit and as such, Sam Bankman-Fried is unlikely to receive a favorable deal from prosecutors.

Kasten further elaborated that Bankman-Fried could also enter into an agreement similar to what Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang did called an “open plea,” which means “prosecutors did not agree to recommend a specific sentence,” said Kasten. This agreement would leave the defendant’s sentence up to the judge.

According to Kasten, the government is not likely to be lenient in this case and offer Bankman-Fried a good deal in exchange for his plea. Furthermore, Bankman-Fried is not likely to be able to point the finger at anyone else to receive credit or cooperation which may have been a way to reduce his sentence or charges.

As such, it remains to be seen what happens in January when Bankman-Fried appears in court to enter a plea. It is likely that he will not be able to take advantage of any credits that could have been awarded if he had agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. The outcome of his case may serve as a warning for others involved in the crypto industry, as well as those who are considering committing any similar crimes.

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