Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), co-founder of FTX, has been found guilty by a jury at the end of a case brought against him by three of his former associates and close friends.
By assisting in the transfer of billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to Alameda Research, an allied hedge fund controlled by Bankman-Fried, Caroline Ellison claimed that she was authorized by him to commit fraud.
As part of agreements to cooperate with authorities, ex-Alameda Research CEO and SBF’s ex-girlfriend Ellison had already entered a guilty plea, which supported her evidence.
Cooperative witnesses frequently receive leniency, particularly if they assist the government in catching larger fish. And that indeed corresponds with the conviction of Bankman-Fried, one of the most well-known figures in the cryptocurrency space.
Several criminal defense attorneys closely following the case have predicted that Ellison is unlikely to receive a significant prison sentence, or possibly none at all, in light of her testimony. This stands in stark contrast to the potential decades-long prison term Bankman-Fried could face when sentenced in March.
Ellison’s sentencing will probably follow SBF’s, and the prosecution is expected to write a statement to the judge explaining the importance of her assistance. Although judges are not required to follow such letters, they typically do so, in part to promote the testimony of witnesses in other instances.
If convicted, she might end up in the same prison as fellow white-collar offender Martha Stewart and may stay in the women-only FPC Alderson, also famous as “Camp Cupcake.” The only other stand-alone federal prison camp for women in the U.S. is FPC Bryan.
Tim Howard, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan, stated : “If you are joining Team USA, you are required to make financial remuneration consistent with the facts. On that, you don’t get off easy.”
Paperny remarked : “They’re very aggressive in collecting. The money from the sale or refinance of your home goes to the government, so you are unable to do either.”
She graduated from Stanford, a prominent university, yet she’ll probably not be allowed to work in banking, cryptocurrency, or any other industry where she might handle other people’s money.
According to Chris Rice , a partner at the tech executive recruitment agency Riviera Partners, “The risk is just too high for the investors. I don’t think they’ll be able to function within an organization at the same level as they did in the past.”