Sam Bankman-Fried, the tousle-haired mogul who founded the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, was convicted on Thursday of all seven charges of fraud and conspiracy after a monthlong trial that laid bare the hubris and risk-taking across the crypto industry. These charges carry a maximum sentence of 110 years.

Mr. Bankman-Fried’s sentencing is set for March 28.

The FTX founder became a symbol of crypto’s excesses last year, when his company collapsed and he was charged with stealing as much as $10 billion from customers to finance political contributions, venture capital investments and other extravagant spending.

Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, is expected to appeal.

The jury of nine women and three men began deliberations on Thursday afternoon following nearly two weeks of testimony spread out over the past month. Witnesses — including his one-time girlfriend Caroline Ellison, who ran Alameda Research, a crypto trading firm he founded — blamed Mr. Bankman-Fried for the sudden failure of both companies less than a year ago.

Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Bankman-Fried of treating FTX as his personal piggy bank, saying he had used customer money to bolster his ambitions and prop up Alameda Research.

The trial moved faster than anticipated with the prosecution calling more than a dozen witnesses — but fewer than they had planned. The defense called just three witnesses, including Mr. Bankman-Fried, whose testimony before the jury spanned parts of three days.

Here’s what to know:

  • Prosecutors called as witnesses three former top advisers to Mr. Bankman-Fried, all of whom had pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. In all, prosecutors called a half-dozen former employees of Mr. Bankman-Fried as witnesses.

  • Mr. Bankman-Fried’s decision to take the stand allowed him to argue he had no intent to steal money and defraud anyone. But it was a risky move and Mr. Bankman-Fried said he “couldn’t recall” more than 140 times in response to questions on cross-examination.

  • The defense portrayed Mr. Bankman-Fried as a “math nerd” who built a thriving business only to see it undone by forces largely outside of his control. His lawyer said in a closing statement that the three cooperators were only testifying against him to save themselves from long prison sentences.

  • The prosecution countered that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s former employees, in pleading guilty, were accepting responsibility for their actions — something Mr. Bankman-Fried was unwilling to do. Prosecutors in their closing argument told the jury that Mr. Bankman-Fried had built his crypto empire on a “foundation of lies and false promises.”

David Streitfeld

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:53 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:53 p.m. ET

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Sam Bankman-Fried once partied with stars and big shots, doled out fortunes in looted funds to politicians and himself and was acclaimed as the next Warren Buffett.Credit…Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

There comes a moment in the development of a new technology when the hype is so common it passes for common sense. Lawyers, accountants and regulators are nowhere to be found. Investors insist entrepreneurs take their money. The world trembles on the brink of change.

For dot-coms, the moment was 1999. For artificial intelligence, it was just over nine months ago. For cryptocurrency, it was 2017.

Six years ago, Sam Bankman-Fried knew little about alternative currencies. But he correctly bet there were huge opportunities in grabbing a tiny piece of millions of crypto trades. In the blink of an eye, he was lauded as being worth $23 billion. Only Mark Zuckerberg had accumulated so much wealth so young.

The Facebook co-founder has his critics, but he looks like Thomas Edison next to Mr. Bankman-Fried. After a speedy trial in Manhattan federal court, the onetime crypto king, now 31, was convicted on Thursday of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy involving his companies FTX and Alameda Research.

Mr. Bankman-Fried once partied with stars and big shots, doled out fortunes in looted funds to politicians and himself, was acclaimed as the next Warren Buffett, employed his friends and made them rich for a while, was courted by the news media that printed his most banal comments. For a time, everyone loved Sam Bankman-Fried — with the apparent exception of Sam Bankman-Fried.

“I am, and for most of my adult life have been, sad.” That plaintive statement appears at the end of testimony Mr. Bankman-Fried had hoped to give Congress last winter before his arrest scuttled his plans. He was onto something.

In photographs from his heyday, Mr. Bankman-Fried always looked awkward, embarrassed and as if he would rather be playing a video game, even when Gisele Bündchen had an arm around him. Everyone kept insisting he was off-the-charts brilliant, the entrepreneur who would create the future. Maybe he knew better.

As journalists — and now prosecutors — have made clear, FTX and Alameda were run by a group of hapless young people who did not have the required skills, maturity or patience. Those who actually had a moral compass and sensed something was wrong soon peeled off, leaving a core crew who drifted — or perhaps dived — into trouble.

“When I started working at Alameda, I don’t think I would have believed you if you told me I would be sending false balance sheets to our lenders or taking customer money, but over time it was something I became more comfortable with,” Caroline Ellison, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s colleague and sometime girlfriend, testified during the trial.

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:40 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:40 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

The prosecutors have now left the courthouse.

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:40 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:40 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in New York, said the case was a warning “to every single fraudster out there who thinks they’re untouchable, or that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, or they’re too powerful for us to prosecute, or that they can talk their way out of it when they get caught.”

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CreditCredit…Associated Press

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:22 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:22 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in New York, is speaking to reporters outside the courthouse. He said the crypto industry might be new, but “this kind of corruption is as old as time.”

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:28 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:28 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

Williams said he intends for this case to set a precedent against financial fraud. There are “enough handcuffs” for more fraudsters, he said.

David Yaffe-Bellany

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:09 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:09 p.m. ET

David Yaffe-Bellany

The verdict was delivered to a packed courtroom. After it was read aloud, Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried, put her head in her hands and stifled tears. Later she and Bankman-Fried’s father, Joe Bankman, stood arm-in-arm, separated from their son by a short barrier.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:05 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:05 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

The courtroom is now empty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:04 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:04 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried turned back and nodded to his parents as U.S. marshals led him out of the courtroom. His parents were seated in the front row of the courtroom gallery.

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:04 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:04 p.m. ET

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Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters, Cheney Orr/Reuters

Jurors in the federal criminal fraud trial of Sam Bankman-Fried were presented starkly different pictures of the defendant in closing arguments: He is either a fraudster who built his fallen crypto empire on a “foundation of lies and false promises” or a “math nerd” whose wildly successful business simply grew too fast for him to properly manage it.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos used scathing language to paint Mr. Bankman-Fried as a liar, telling jurors that Mr. Bankman-Fried was motivated by greed and responsible for the collapse of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange last year, leaving users and investors with billions of dollars in losses.

Mark Cohen, a lawyer for Mr. Bankman-Fried, countered that the prosecution had tried to repeatedly make his client into a villain — repeating a point he made in his opening statement some four weeks ago.

The two sides made their final pitches a day after Mr. Bankman-Fried finished testifying in his own defense, a risky decision that left him vulnerable to having his previous statements used against him.

Prosecutors pursued that tactic aggressively.

Mr. Bankman-Fried repeatedly dissembled and dodged questions, Mr. Roos told the jury. According to the prosecutor, Mr. Bankman-Fried said he “couldn’t recall” more than 140 times in response to questions on cross-examination.

“It was uncomfortable to hear,” said Mr. Roos, who also highlighted inconsistencies between the testimony of Mr. Bankman-Fried and that of his former employees, including three who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Mr. Roos also pointed out instances of Mr. Bankman-Fried appearing to deliberately use FTX customer deposits — a key element of a case in which he is accused of using the firm as his personal piggy bank and stealing as much as $10 billion from FTX’s customers to fund lavish spending and prop up his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research.

Mr. Cohen presented his client as well meaning and suggested that prosecutors have sought to turn Mr. Bankman-Fried into “some sort of villain, some sort of monster.”

The reality, he said, is that Mr. Bankman-Fried is a “math nerd” who may have made some bad business decisions, but did not commit any crimes or tell anyone to break the law.

Mr. Cohen portrayed the collapse of FTX as a series of business decisions and that the prosecution’s retelling of it was exaggerated and cinematic. “In the real world, unlike the movie world, things can get messy,” Mr. Cohen said. The big spending by FTX and Alameda, he added, “were reasonable corporate expenses” and not a misuse of customer money.

Mr. Bankman-Fried, he said, had acted in good faith in making his business decisions and lacked the criminal intent to defraud anyone. Mr. Cohen reminded the jury it is the prosecution’s burden to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that Mr. Bankman-Fried is not obligated to prove anything.

Mr. Cohen told the jury his client had testified “because he wanted to tell you what happened.”

“It is hard to think of a more stressful situation than that,” he said. “He was far from polished. He was himself, he was Sam.”

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:03 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:03 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

I got into a packed elevator with the jurors and tried talking to them about their experience. They were silent. “Long night?” I asked, which got some eye rolls.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:00 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 8:00 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Judge Kaplan is thanking the lawyers in the trial. “That is all I will say right now,” he says.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:57 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:57 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried’s sentencing is set for March 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:57 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:57 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Judge Kaplan wants the government to let him know if a planned second trial for Bankman-Fried on other charges of campaign finance and foreign bribery will still be held. He said he wants a decision on that by February. Nicolas Roos, a prosecutor, said the second trial could have an impact on Bankman-Fried’s sentencing date.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:54 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:54 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Jurors are leaving but the judge wants to address the lawyers in the room and presumably Bankman-Fried.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:53 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:53 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried will undoubtedly appeal but getting a new trial is a tough legal road.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:53 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:53 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried is seated and looking down as the judge is talking to the jurors.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:52 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:52 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

It will be interesting to see what the jurors say in post-trial interviews. The judge is telling them it is their decision to talk to the press or not.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:52 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:52 p.m. ET

The jury of nine women and three men who decided Sam Bankman-Fried’s fate found him guilty on seven criminal charges.

Here are the seven charges the FTX founder faced and the maximum prison time that came with each:

Wire fraud on FTX customers: 20 years maximum

Wire fraud on Alameda Research lenders: 20 years maximum

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud on FTX customers: 20 years maximum

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Alameda lenders: 20 years maximum

Conspiracy to commit securities fraud on FTX investors: 5 years maximum

Conspiracy to commit commodities fraud on FTX customers: 5 years maximum

Conspiracy to commit money laundering: 20 years maximum

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:51 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:51 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried made the risky decision of testifying, and it does not appear to have helped him at all.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:51 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:51 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

The verdict was very quick for a monthlong trial and really is a testament to how overwhelming the government’s case was.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:50 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:50 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Judge Kaplan is now thanking the jury for their service.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:50 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:50 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Judge Kaplan asked Bankman-Fried to stand and turn and face the jury as the verdict was read.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried could be sentenced to a maximum of 110 years in federal prison

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count Seven: Conspiracy to commit money laundering: Guilty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Bankman-Fried is found guilty on all seven charges.

Image

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count Four: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Alameda lenders: Guilty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count Five: Conspiracy to commit securities fraud on investors: Guilty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count Six: Conspiracy to commit commodities fraud: Guilty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:49 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count Three: Wire fraud on Alameda Lenders: Guilty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:48 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:48 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count Two: Conspiracy on wire fraud on FTX customers: Guilty.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:47 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:47 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Count One: Wire fraud on FTX Customers: Guilty.

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:46 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:46 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

The jury has entered the courtroom.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:45 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:45 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

The jury of nine men and three women began deliberating at 3:15 p.m. and was out for a little over four hours including dinner.

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:44 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:44 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over this case, is saying we will have decorum in the courtroom before the jury is brought in.

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:44 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:44 p.m. ET

J. Edward Moreno

The last thing the jurors requested was transcripts from the testimony of Matt Huang, a venture investor at Paradigm. His testimony relates to the securities fraud charge, which is the fifth of seven charges.

Image

Credit…Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Matthew Goldstein

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:43 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:43 p.m. ET

Matthew Goldstein

The jury has just sent a note that they have reached a verdict. We are waiting for the jury to enter.

J. Edward Moreno

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:41 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2023, 7:41 p.m. ET

Image

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

A high school librarian, a retired investment banker and a Metro North train conductor: Sam Bankman-Fried’s fate is in the hands of a diverse group of jurors who sat through weeks of scathing testimony against the former cryptocurrency mogul.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan finalized a jury of nine women and three men on the second day of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s trial last month. The jurors came from all walks of life. The youngest is 33 and the oldest is 65. Several are immigrants, including one from Hong Kong and another from Ukraine.

At least one is a business owner, while one works for the U.S. Postal Service as a vehicle maintenance worker. Another is a retired correctional officer. A high school librarian in the Bronx and a special-education teacher in Rockland County, N.Y., were also selected. Other jurors include a former investment banker from Salomon Brothers, a former nonprofit fund-raiser and an account executive at an advertising firm.

The New York Times does not print the names of jurors so as to not interfere with a trial.

Jurors had arrived in Manhattan federal court by 9:30 a.m. since Mr. Bankman-Fried’s trial started on Oct. 3. Getting a dozen people to arrive in a courtroom consistently has required Judge Kaplan to make some logistical accommodations.

The court wrapped up early in the trial’s first week so one juror could make a flight for a parents’ weekend at his daughter’s college. Another juror recently noted she had a Friday flight to catch for her uncle’s 70th birthday. Judge Kaplan offered to have the court write to the airline if changing the flight resulted in additional fees.

One alternate juror came to court on the first day Mr. Bankman-Fried testified and reported feeling sick and vomiting, but he told Judge Kaplan he did not want to be excused and miss the rest of the trial. He was dismissed anyway.

“I’m simply not going to take a risk that he has something infectious that could affect anyone else,” Judge Kaplan said at the time. “Of course he has our thanks.”

J. Edward MorenoMatthew Goldstein

Oct. 26, 2023, 11:21 a.m. ET

Oct. 26, 2023, 11:21 a.m. ET

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Gary Wang, center, a co-founder of FTX, testified about the cryptocurrency exchange’s computer code. Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Former employees and friends of Sam Bankman-Fried testified at his trial that he orchestrated a scheme to misappropriate billions of dollars in customer money from his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, which collapsed last year.

The witnesses painted a portrait of Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, as a controlling boss who directed them to commit fraud. They said the FTX founder had known for months that the exchange had no way of paying back at least $8 billion in customer money that was used to buy lavish real estate, invest in other crypto companies, make campaign contributions, and pay back lenders to a trading firm that Mr. Bankman-Fried also controlled.

Here are highlights of the testimony from several prosecution witnesses — including Mr. Bankman-Fried’s employee and on-again, off-again girlfriend, Caroline Ellison — who have been central to the case:

The first prosecution witness was Adam Yedidia, a former FTX developer who was a close friend of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s and lived with him and other associates in the Bahamas.

Mr. Yedidia, who has not been charged with any crimes and testified under immunity, said Mr. Bankman-Fried had known that FTX and Alameda Research, a sister crypto trading firm, were on thin ice.

Mr. Yedidia described a conversation he had with Mr. Bankman-Fried at their paddle tennis court the summer before FTX collapsed, as the crypto market crashed and lenders to Alameda were asking for their money back. Mr. Yedidia said Mr. Bankman-Fried had told him that FTX “was bulletproof last year, but we’re not bulletproof this year” and that it would take six months to three years to make the company “bulletproof again.”

Ms. Ellison, who ran Alameda and was Mr. Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend, was the government’s star witness. She detailed the close relationship between Alameda and FTX, including several instances when, she said, Mr. Bankman-Fried directed or greenlighted the use of FTX’s customer deposits.

Ms. Ellison, who has pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is cooperating with prosecutors, said Mr. Bankman-Fried had been eager to buy back FTX shares from Binance, a rival crypto exchange. She was apprehensive about the move, she said, because she knew that would mean borrowing $1 billion in FTX customer funds for the transaction.

“That’s OK, I think this is really important, we have to get it done,” Mr. Bankman-Fried told Ms. Ellison, according to her testimony.

Ms. Ellison also offered insight into Mr. Bankman-Fried’s mind-set, detailing their relationship and his somewhat unconventional view that rules about not lying and not stealing were of lesser importance than actions that he saw as serving a greater good.

Mr. Wang, an FTX co-founder who has pleaded guilty in the case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, told the jury that Mr. Bankman-Fried had directed him to include features on the exchange that gave Alameda an advantage on the platform. “In the end, it was Sam’s decision,” he testified.

The soft-spoken coder spent much of his time on the stand explaining the intricacies of FTX’s computer code, which supported prosecutors’ point that Alameda was intentionally given special privileges on the platform so it could use FTX customer deposits as if they were a piggy bank.

Mr. Wang met Mr. Bankman-Fried in high school math camp, and they were classmates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before founding FTX together in 2019.

Mr. Singh, a former FTX executive who has also pleaded guilty, detailed Mr. Bankman-Fried’s lavish spending, including big real estate purchases and political donations. That spending, he said, was bankrolled by FTX customer deposits.

Mr. Singh said he had given other associates access to his bank accounts to make political donations under his name, including Mr. Bankman-Fried’s younger brother, Gabe, who ran the nonprofit group Guarding Against Pandemics. At one point, when a credit wire wasn’t going through, Gabe Bankman-Fried sent one of his assistants to the Bahamas “with a bunch of checks from my bank account,” Mr. Singh testified.

Prosecutors also showed an email exchange between Mr. Singh and Mr. Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried, who was receiving $1 million from FTX for her nonprofit Mind the Gap. Ms. Fried, a Stanford law professor, suggested that Mr. Singh make the donation under his name “because we don’t want to create the impression that funding MTG is a family affair, as opposed to a collective effort by many people (including some mystery guy Nishad Singh :)).”

Mr. Sun, a former top FTX lawyer, testified that Mr. Bankman-Fried had pushed him to find a legal justification for the exchange’s repeated misuse of billions in customer money — even after Mr. Sun told his boss there was none.

At Mr. Bankman-Fried’s urging, Mr. Sun said, he ran through a few theoretical options to justify the borrowing and spending of FTX customer money. But Mr. Sun, who testified after securing an agreement that prosecutors would not pursue charges against him, said he had once again told Mr. Bankman-Fried that none of those options were supported “by the facts.” Mr. Bankman-Fried responded by saying “something like, ‘Got it,’” Mr. Sun testified.

Prosecutors then played a clip from an interview that Mr. Bankman-Fried gave ABC’s “Good Morning America” days before FTX filed for bankruptcy in November. In that interview, Mr. Bankman-Fried offered up one of the theoretical options that Mr. Sun had provided him as an explanation for what happened to FTX’s customer money.

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