Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder and former CEO of crypto exchange FTX, has pleaded not guilty to federal wire fraud charges and other crimes. Per The New York Times, Bankman-Fried appeared before a Manhattan court on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after he was granted bail on a $250 million bond, and said he was innocent of charges laid against him by US prosecutors.
In addition to a civil suit from the Securities and Exchange Commission, SBF faces a criminal indictment from the Justice Department. Prosecutors have accused Bankman-Fried of leading a multiyear scheme to defraud investors and customers of FTX. SBF faces a total of eight criminal charges, including multiple counts of wire fraud. He is also accused of attempting to commit commodities fraud, as well as breaking federal election laws by donating more than is legally allowed.
It's worth emphasizing the changes against SBF are serious. For context, a federal judge recently sentenced former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes to 11 years in prison for defrauding investors and patients. Prosecutors have accused Bankman-Fried of defrauding investors of almost $2 billion, or about twice the amount of money involved in the Theranos case. SBF has previously said that he "didn't ever try to commit fraud," and doesn't believe he's criminally liable for the fall of FTX.
According to The Times, Bankman-Fried did not speak during the hearing. One of SBF's lawyers entered a not-guilty plea on his client's behalf. The trial is tentatively scheduled to start on October 2nd. Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried on December 12th. He originally planned to fight extradition, but later returned to the US to face federal prosecutors.