(New York Post) The ex-girlfriend of disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried and a co-founder of FTX pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange and are both cooperating with federal prosecutors, officials announced Wednesday night.
Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Bankman-Fried’s crypto hedge fund company Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, a co-founder of FTX, pleaded guilty to the criminal offenses before Bankman-Fried landed in New York to face his own charges, Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
The charges filed against the pair were “in connection with their roles in the frauds that contributed to FTX’s collapse,” Williams said.
“Both Ms. Ellison and Mr. Wang have plead guilty to those charges and they are both cooperating with the Southern District of New York.”
News of the charges came after Bahamian authorities handed Bankman-Fried over to FBI custody. He was flown back to New York Wednesday night and will appear in front of a federal judge “as soon as possible,” the US attorney said.
Caroline Ellison, along with Gary Want, plead guilty to fraud charges for their roles in the collapse of FTX last month.Twitter / @carolinecapital
Gary Wang co-founded FTX with Bankman-Fried.Crunchbase
Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, hid the currency exchange’s financial problems from the public and defrauded investors out of over $1.8 billion.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Bankman-Fried of illegally using investors’ money to fund Alameda and buy real estate on behalf of himself and his family. He’s also charged with wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance charges.
Williams has described the FTX collapse as one of the “biggest financial frauds in American history.” The company had an estimated worth at one point of $32 billion.
He said his office’s investigation is ongoing but “moving quickly” and called on former employees of Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire to come forward before federal authorities come for them.
Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas on Wednesday being moved to a car for his extradition back to the US.Getty Images
“Let me reiterate a call I made last week — if you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it. We are moving quickly and our patience is not eternal,” Williams said sternly.
Ellison pleaded guilty to seven charges of defrauding customers and investors of both FTX and Alameda, according to the agreement. The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 110 years.
As part of the plea deal, she was released on a $250,000 bond and is barred from leaving the US. According to court documents, she is also to make restitution in an amount to be determined by the court.