As Sam Bankman-Fried‘s fraud trial nears its conclusion, federal prosecutors delivered forceful closing arguments accusing the FTX founder of lying and stealing from customers.
Inner City Press, which has reported live from the courtroom since the beginning of Bankman-Fried’s trial, reported Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos told the jury that the simple fact was that billions in customer deposits had gone missing because Bankman-Fried stole them. “Almost a year ago, people started to withdraw from FTX. Millions to billions” he said. “Thousands tried to withdraw their nest eggs. But they were not processed.”
Roos alleged this was because “The defendant spent his customers’ money and lied about it. It went to cover expenses, to purchase property, and to make political donations. This was a pyramid of deceit, all to get money. Eventually, it collapsed, leaving countless victims in its wake.”
The crux of the matter, the government argued, had nothing to do with the complexities or fundamentals of cryptocurrency and instead attributed Bankman-Fried’s behavior to simple fraud:
“$10 billion were missing. And the defendant was responsible. You’re heard about Bitcoins and blockchains, so-called Korean accounts. Here’s the thing. This is not about complicated issues of cryptocurrency. It’s about lies and stealing and greed.”
The statements reflect arguments outlined in previous SBF trial coverage, noting he faces charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and campaign finance violations related to the implosion of FTX in November 2022.
Bankman-Fried has maintained he did not act with ill intent, instead making poor business decisions. The trial’s outcome rests on whether the jury accepts his narrative or the prosecution’s assertions of willful fraud and deception.
Roos directly told the jury, “The core dispute here is whether the defendant knew that taking the money was wrong. He knew. He did it anyway. He thought he was smarter and could walk his way out of it. Today, with you, that ends.”
As the high-profile SBF case nears a verdict, the prosecution aimed to convince jurors of criminal intent through its condemnatory closing statement. Roos asserted SBF intentionally defrauded FTX customers, stating, “This man, Samuel Bankman-Fried… spent his customers’ money and lied about it.”
Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial is ongoing.