FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison have retained high-powered criminal defense attorneys specializing in white-collar crimes amid ongoing law enforcement lawsuits related to the collapse of the crypto empire.
It was Bankman-Fried He was arrested in the Bahamas Monday, ahead of his possible extradition later at the request of US authorities. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors unsealed the indictment that exposed Bankman-Fried. charged with eight felonies.
Charges against him include defrauding clients, plus conspiracy; wire fraud, plus conspiracy charges against lenders; in addition to conspiracy to commit commodity fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations.
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In total, the charges Bankman-Fried faces carry up to 115 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines for these crimes. The wire fraud charges — including conspiracy charges — and the money laundering conspiracy count each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The charges of commodities and securities fraud and the campaign finance conspiracy charge each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
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Mark Cohen of the law firm Cohen & Gresser is tasked with preventing Bankman-Fried from spending the rest of her life in prison if convicted of the crimes she is charged with.
A former federal prosecutor, Cohen has represented a variety of clients, including financial firms, hedge funds, executives, energy companies and others facing federal charges. It should be noted that Cohen represented Jeffrey Epstein’s confidant Ghislaine Maxwell in the trial of sex trafficking and was the defense attorney of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
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At a press conference Tuesday announcing the charges against Bankman-Fried, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said the Bankman-Fried case drew comparisons. Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and the Enron scandalIt will go down as “one of the biggest scams in American history.”
Williams also issued a dire warning to Bankman-Fried’s co-conspirators who may face charges, saying, “As for us going to press charges against anybody else, look, all I can say is this: Obviously, we’re not done.”
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As of Tuesday, no charges had been filed against him Caroline EllisonAlameda Research appointee Bankman-Fried reportedly had an ex-girlfriend.
However, Ellison has retained the services of Stephanie Avakian, a partner at the WilmerHale law firm. Avakian has extensive experience in legal matters related to the financial sector, having previously served as director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.
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Currently, Avakian leads WilmerHale’s Securities and Financial Services Department and has worked to advise and defend publicly traded companies, corporate boards, investment banks and private executives involved in government investigations.
Fox Business’ Charles Gasparino It was mentioned on Twitter Ellison’s selection of a lawyer from WilmerHale has fueled speculation that he will “cooperate” with prosecutors and hire Bankman-Fried, given the firm’s ties to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and its reputation for securing plea deals.
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