Federal prosecutors hit FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried with four new charges Thursday as part of their criminal case against the former crypto wunderkind.
The new 12-count superseding indictment adds new bank fraud and money laundering counts against Bankman-Fried as well as modified campaign finance charges. In the new document, prosecutors describe how Bankman-Fried and two unnamed defendants conspired to defraud the Federal Elections Commission by using straw donors to “evade contribution limits on individual donations to candidates to whom” the former CEO had already donated.
Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators are alleged to have organized the straw donor scheme in a Signal group chat called “Donation Processing.” The chat is said to have shown employees being directed to make lofty donations to groups like the New York State Democratic Committee.
“In general, you being the center left face of our spending will mean you giving to a lot of woke shit for transactional purposes”
In one instance, Bankman-Fried and the other unnamed defendants decided to donate at least $1 million to a pro-LGBT super PAC. “In general, you being the center left face of our spending will mean you giving to a lot of woke shit for transactional purposes,” a political consultant for Bankman-Fried allegedly said.
The indictment claims that the money used to make these donations flowed from Alameda bank accounts that included customer money. Bankman-Fried made over 300 political contributions worth “tens of millions of dollars” as part of this straw donor scheme, according to prosecutors. The scheme allowed for Bankman-Fried “to evade contribution limits on individual donations to candidates to whom he had already donated,” the indictment said.
“As part of this scheme, contributions were coordinated to be made in the names of two FTX donors to candidates they did not necessarily support or know” and were for advancing Bankman-Fried’s “political agenda.”
After FTX collapsed last year, three top Democratic campaign arms announced that they would be returning more than $1 million in donations from Bankman-Fried. Still, FTX’s new management is continuing its effort to claw back customer funds. Earlier this month, CNN reported that the company was sending “confidential messages” to campaigns and political groups calling on them to return donations by the end of February.