Accused cryptocurrency fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment in Manhattan federal court Tuesday.
Judge Lewis Kaplan set a tentative trial date of Oct. 2, 2023, for the 30-year-old fallen wunderkind.
It was Bankman-Fried’s second appearance in Manhattan federal court since his extradition from the Bahamas.
The shaggy-haired accused scammer was met by a sizeable media scrum when he arrived at court with his legal team — and mother — at about 12:40 p.m.
Bankman-Fried, wearing a dark-colored suit and his backpack, followed security guards who pushed through the gaggle of photographers in front of the courthouse entrance on Worth Street in lower Manhattan.
The alleged crypto crook is accused in an eight-count indictment of swindling investors and customers of his popular currency exchange, FTX, by diverting cash invested in the platform to his hedge fund Alameda Research and for lavish personal expenses.
The indictment also charges Bankman-Fried with conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws and conspiracy to commit money laundering as part of his alleged sprawling fraud operation.
The suspect could face up to 115 years behind bars if convicted of all charges, the feds said.
About 15 minutes before the start of Bankman-Fried’s arraignment, US Attorney Damian Williams announced that his office has created a special “FTX Task Force” to deal with “matters related to the FTX collapse” — including trying to recover victims’ swindled assets.
“The Southern District of New York is working around the clock to respond to the implosion of FTX. It is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Williams said in a statement.
“We are launching the SDNY FTX Task Force to ensure that this urgent work continues, powered by all of SDNY’s resources and expertise, until justice is done.”
After the suspect’s indictment on Dec. 13, federal prosecutors revealed that two of Bankman-Fried’s co-conspirators had pleaded guilty to fraud charges for their roles in the scheme and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators who are probing the crypto operation.
His ex-girlfriend, former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, 28, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, 29, each copped to a number of fraud and conspiracy charges in secret court hearings days after Bankman-Fried was charged.
The shaggy-haired alleged fraudster has been living at his parents’ California house since his release on bail.
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