Disgraced FTX founder and Democrat megadonor Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with several new criminal counts, including illegally making over 300 political contributions, totaling tens of millions of dollars.
Bankman-Fried, who made a reputation for coming second only to George Soros when padding Democrats' pockets in 2022, now faces 12 criminal charges, including four for fraud and eight for conspiracy, reported Reuters.
Illegally floating Democrat boats
According to an indictment unsealed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Bankman-Fried and "co-conspirators made over 300 political contributions, totaling tens of millions of dollars, that were unlawful because they were made in the name of a straw donor or paid for with corporate funds" (i.e., unsuspecting clients' money).
"In dozens of instances, BANKMAN-FRIED's use of straw donors allowed him to evade contribution limits on individual donations to candidates to whom he had already donated," said the indictment.
"As a result of this fraudulent conduct, BANKMAN-FRIED and his co-conspirators caused false information to be reported by campaigns and PACs to the FEC, which had the result of impairing and impeding the FEC' s reporting and enforcement functions."
The document accuses Bankman-Fried of making "unlawful political contributions" to acquire influence and to "improve his personal standing in Washington, D.C., increase FTX's profile, and curry favor with candidates that could help pass legislation favorable to FTX or BANKMAN-FRIED's personal agenda, including legislation concerning regulatory oversight over FTX and its industry."
TheBlaze previously reported that Bankman-Fried, touted in August by Fortune as a "trading wunderkind whose ambition knows no limits," donated $10 million to then-candidate Joe Biden in 2020.
The crypto hustler now accused of illegal political donations reportedly also hired a network of "political operatives" and spent at least $39,826,856 in an effort to help Democrats win their House races in the November 2022 midterm elections.
Prior to its collapse, his company FTX funneled $27 million through the leftist PAC Protect Our Future, accounting for nearly 95% of the funds raised by the PAC.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) benefited from the Senate Majority PAC and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from the House Majority PAC, to both of which Bankman-Fried and his alleged co-conspirator Nishad Singh donated millions of dollars.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) were recipients of maximum donations.
Failed Democrat candidate Beto O'Rourke also secured $1 million from the FTX founder in 2022. The lengthy list of Democrat recipients goes on and has been posted by Open Secrets.
Bankman-Fried told Jacob Goldstein of "What's Your Problem?" that he planned to possibly donate "north of $100 million" and up to $1 billion to Democrats in the 2024 presidential elections.
The plot thickens
The indictment further claims that Bankman-Fried "recorded the outgoing wire transfers from Alameda to individuals' bank accounts for purposes of making contributions as Alameda 'loans' or 'expenses.'"
However, unlike other loans that were made to FTX executives, "these outgoing wire payments were not documented in agreements or on term sheets, and there were no set interest rates, no interest payments, no collateral, and no evidence of repayment."
According to the indictment, the transfers in question in the months leading up to the midterm elections were not recorded on internal Alameda tracking spreadsheets. Instead, "an internal Alameda spreadsheet noted over $100 million in political contributions, even though FEC records reflect no political contributions by Alameda for the 2022 midterm elections to candidates or PACS."
NBC News noted that prosecutors appear to have gained access to records of Bankman-Fried's encrypted chat messages on Signal concerning his and his co-conspirators' political spending.
When FTX began to collapse, Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators allegedly began to worry bout the "'maybe 80m' of 'donations/personal/etc that went through my bank [account] and are in my name.'"
One of his co-conspirators allegedly proposed a "back-dated transaction to undo any sort of debt he might owe as a result of wire transfers being recorded on Alameda's ledgers as 'loans,'" thereby further concealing "the campaign finance scheme."
Straw men playing with fire
To avoid developing a reputation as a "left-leaning partisan," Bankman-Fried allegedly made sure to obscure his association with certain contributions by having others make them on his behalf.
One co-conspirator, not named in the indictment, reportedly was set to throw money after "a candidate running for a United States Congressional seat and appeared to be affiliated with pro-LGBTQ issues," as well as what Bankman-Fried termed "woke shit for transactional purposes."
Nishad Singh, a big Democrat donor in Bankman-Fried's inner circle who served as FTX's director of engineering, donated $8 million to federal campaigns in the 2022 election cycle, all of it to Democrats, reported CNBC. He donated over $13 million to Democrat causes since the 2020 presidential election, including Future Forward USA, a PAC that supported Biden's run for president.
Singh reportedly gave around $2 million in June and July to the Senate Majority PAC that helped Democrats hold on to their majority in the Senate. He also doled out $4 million in August and September to the pro-abortion campaign Reproductive Freedom for All.
Based on his donations, it would appear that Singh is co-conspirator one (CC-1) referenced in the indictment.
Bloomberg reported last week that Singh is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges for his role in an alleged multiyear fraud at FTX. This and whatever potential deal Singh may have hammered out with Manhattan prosecutors may further isolate Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in December in the Bahamas and dragged back to the United States to face charges in a federal court. He pleaded not guilty to the previous charges and is currently out on bail.
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