Jury starts deliberations in Sam Bankman-Fried $10 billion fraud trial

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A federal jury has started deliberating in Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal fraud trial, where the disgraced cryptocurrency mogul is charged with stealing $10 billion of his customers’ funds and lying to investors and lenders. The 12-person jury began huddling at around 3:15 p.m. inside the Manhattan federal courthouse after prosecutors hours earlier made their final pitch to convict Bankman-Fried, 31, on fraud and conspiracy charges as the month-long trial ended. “He thought he could fool reporters, the public, and now you,” federal prosecutor Danielle Sassoon said in a final “rebuttal” to Bankman-Fried lawyers’ closing statement. Sassoon had questioned the former tech golden boy as he repeatedly claimed to “not recall” business dealings during his four days on the stand. On Thursday, the prosecutor blasted Bankman-Fried’s claim that his hedge fund Alameda Research merely “borrowed” billions from his collapsed exchange FTX because of “oversights” in “risk management” — rather than crimes. “You can’t walk into a jewelry store, steal a diamond necklace and then walk out and say there was no security guard,” Sassoon said at the end of her closing statement in the case. “He knew what he was doing was wrong — that’s why he didn’t hire a risk officer.” Federal prosecutors have described dozens of statements made by Bankman-Fried in his time running FTX as part of a “pyramid of deceit” meant to obscure his role masterminding a $10 billion fraud. Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, meanwhile, has said that the feds had “unfairly” tried to paint the accused fraudster as “some sort of monster” who set out to steal from his customers — ignoring his work building two “legitimate, valid, innovative businesses” before they both collapsed. The jury of nine women and three men plan to deliberate tonight until around 8 p.m. – unless they reach a verdict. Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan has offered for the court to buy them a pizza dinner and pay for car services to take them home. Bankman-Fried faces what would effectively be a life sentence if he’s convicted on all seven wire fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges that jurors are considering.

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