SBF’s Former Business Associates Plead Guilty To Fraud Charges And Are Cooperating With Authorities, US Attorney Says 

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Former business associates of disgraced former crypto CEO Sam Bankman-Fried have pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them and are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams Wednesday.

Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda research and reportedly ex-girlfriend of Bankman-Fried, pleaded guilty to seven counts, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, while Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX and former chief technology officer, pleaded guilty to four counts, including wire fraud, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing plea agreements. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) brought charges for securities fraud against the pair, alleging that they were “active participants” in Bankman-Fried’s efforts to defraud investors on FTX, according to a complaint filed by the SEC Wednesday. (RELATED: Dem-Aligned PACs Are Radio Silent On Returning Nearly $30 Million In SBF Donations)

“As part of their deception, we allege that Caroline Ellison and Sam Bankman-Fried schemed to manipulate the price of FTT, an exchange crypto security token that was integral to FTX, to prop up the value of their house of cards,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a press release. “We further allege that Ms. Ellison and Mr. Wang played an active role in a scheme to misuse FTX customer assets to prop up Alameda and to post collateral for margin trading. When FTT and the rest of the house of cards collapsed, Mr. Bankman-Fried, Ms. Ellison, and Mr. Wang left investors holding the bag.”

Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on Dec. 12, pending extradition to the United States, on charges that included wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. The SEC also brought separate charges against Bankman-Fried on Dec. 13, alleging that he orchestrated a scheme to use billions of customer assets from FTX to fund trades made by Alameda Research.

Unconfirmed photos of Ellison appeared to show her getting coffee at a shop near the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, fueling speculation that she may be cooperating with authorities.

Williams confirmed that Bankman-Fried was in the custody of the FBI and en route to the U.S., and thanked Bahamian authorities and U.S. law enforcement agencies for the “team effort” to bring Bankman-Fried in. Williams also called on any other perpetrators to come forward.

“If you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it,” he said. “We are moving quickly, and our patience is not eternal.”

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