Two FTX Associates Plead Guilty as Sam Bankman-Fried Arrives in the U.S. to Face Charges

Bankman-Fried's former employees have signed plea deals, agreeing to work with U.S. prosecutors in its investigation of FTX's downfall.

Bankman-Fried, dressed in suit and tie, escorted out of courthouse
Sam Bankman-Fried escorted out of a Bahamian court on Dec. 21. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, was extradited to New York on Dec. 21 as two of his associates struck plea deals with U.S. prosecutors.

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Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Bankman-Fried’s crypto fund Alameda Research, and Gary Wong, co-founder and former chief technology officer of FTX, pled guilty to numerous charges filed by the Department of Justice in connection to their roles in the crypto exchange’s downfall.

Ellison and Wong are cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation of FTX, said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement. “If you are participating in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it,” said Williams. “We are moving quickly, and our patience is not eternal.”

Bankman-Fried, who was in Bahamian custody since Dec. 12, is expected to make his first appearance in Manhattan federal court today (Dec. 22), where he is facing eight counts concerning the misappropriation of FTX customer funds.

Ellison was charged with seven counts, including wire fraud, commodities fraud and money laundering, and faces a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison, according to her plea deal, while Wong was charged with four counts carrying a maximum prison term of 50 years.

“Gary has accepted responsibility for his actions and takes seriously his obligations as a cooperating witness,” said Ilan Graff, an attorney for Wong, in a statement. An attorney for Ellison did not respond to requests for comment.

Ellison and Wong were additionally charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which have also filed lawsuits against Bankman-Fried.

Between 2019 and 2022, Ellison, at the direction of Bankman-Fried, manipulated the price of FTT, an FTX-issued digital token, according to the SEC. Meanwhile Wang allegedly created FTX’s software code which allowed Alameda to divert FTX customer funds. The CFTC, which is also alleging fraud against the two associates, amended its original complaint against Bankman-Fried to include Ellison and Wong.

A representative for Bankman-Fried did not respond to requests for comment.

Two FTX Associates Plead Guilty as Sam Bankman-Fried Arrives in the U.S. to Face Charges