FTX founder charged with defrauding crypto investors

The U.S. government charged Samuel Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, with a host of financial crimes on Tuesday, alleging he intentionally deceived customers and investors to enrich himself and others, while playing a central role in the company’s multibillion-dollar collapse, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Federal prosecutors said Bankman-Fried devised “a scheme and artifice to defraud” FTX’s customers and investors beginning in 2019, the year it was founded. He illegally diverted their money to cover expenses, debts, and risky trades at the crypto hedge fund he started in 2017, Alameda Research, and to make lavish real estate purchases and large political donations, prosecutors said in a 13-page indictment.

Bankman-Fried, 30, was arrested Monday in the Bahamas at the request of the U.S. government and remains in custody after being denied bail.

He has been charged with eight criminal violations, ranging from wire fraud to money laundering to conspiracy to commit fraud. If convicted of all the charges, Bankman-Fried — referred to by crypto enthusiasts as “SBF” — could face decades in jail.