Inside Scoop: Prosecutor Reveals Trump Card Accelerated SBF’s Conviction

April 3, 2024

In a startling revelation, the rapid progression of the prosecution against Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced crypto mogul convicted of seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, has been attributed primarily to the cooperation of FTX co-founder and chief software engineer Gary Wang, according to a U.S. prosecutor. 

The latest development sheds new light on the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the case, showcasing the pivotal role played by key figures within FTX, the fallen crypto empire, against their former boss and friend.

“This case moved at lightning speed,” remarked U.S. Attorney Damian Williams to the press following Bankman-Fried’s conviction last week. 

While information was scarce on how the prosecution swiftly pursued the crypto mogul, who vehemently denied culpability for the crimes leveled against him, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thane Rehn shared an insider scoop on the camp’s trump card a few days after Bankman-Fried’s sentencing.

Speaking at a discussion hosted by law firm Wilson Sonsini, Rehn underscored Wang’s indispensable contribution in helping investigators understand how Bankman-Fried embezzled billions of dollars in customer funds.

“Without that, would we have found it? Probably,” Rehn said. “But it would have taken a software expert weeks or even months.” 

Wang’s expertise expedited the investigative process, highlighting the significant impact of his collaboration in expediting the discovery of critical evidence.

Wang and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Southern District of New York.

This pivotal event took place in December 2022, mere weeks after the high-flying crypto exchange FTX, along with its affiliates, declared bankruptcy, leading to the resignation of crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) and his top lieutenants. 

Wang stood before the court and entered a guilty plea on multiple federal charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, actual wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, Williams confirmed at the time.

Wang met Bankman-Fried in the carefree days of childhood when they were both 7 years old at a summer camp and later ended up attending the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“From a young age, he was very quiet and solely focused on his strongest interest in math and coding,” Wang’s father shared. “He was very naïve, believing everyone around him was good.”

“He was an idealist and full of care toward the world,” Wang’s father further said.

“Gary is scared,” Bankman-Fried revealed in an interview in November 2022.

In December of the same year, Ilan Graff, Wang’s attorney, shared, “Gary has accepted responsibility for his actions and takes seriously his obligations as a cooperating witness.” 

When he testified against SBF in December, Wang confessed their collaborative fraud, detailing how they engineered a computer code granting Alameda unrestricted withdrawal rights to FTX customer funds and facilitated lenient margin trading collateral requirements.

Bloomberg disclosed last month that since early 2023, Wang has secured employment at a tech company, drawing on insights from an individual familiar with his job situation.

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