Disgraced FTX crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison was facing up to 110 years in prison before she agreed to cooperate with the federal government, her plea agreement shows.
The former Alameda hedge fund CEO, 28, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in an agreement signed on Monday.
“The total maximum sentence of incarceration on Counts One through Seven of the Information is 110 years’ imprisonment,” the document filed by the US attorney for the Southern District of New York read.
The agreement also indicates that Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang had agreed to “cooperate fully” with the feds, in exchange for which they will likely get much lighter sentences.
Crypto exchange FTX collapsed in November after federal investigators say Bankman-Fried used investors’ money to fund the Alameda hedge fund and by summer this year Alameda owed FTX’s customers approximately $8 billion.
For her part in the scheme, the hefty charges Ellison was slapped with included wire fraud, commodities fraud, secutities fraud and money laundering.
However, in exchange for Ellison’s decision to “truthfully and completely disclose all information concerning all matters” in the investigation, prosecutors agree to release the Stanford-educated math whiz on $250,000 bail. Provided she sticks to her promise to cooperate with the feds, she will be sentenced at a later date.
The bail sum is 1,000 times less than that of her former paramour, Bankman-Fried, who is holed up at his parents’ Palo Alto home with an ankle monitor after being released on a record-breaking $250 million bail bond following his extradition from the Bahamas.
As part of her plea, Ellison, a Massachusetts native whose parents both teach at MIT, is also not allowed to travel outside the continental United States, and was made to surrender her travel documents to law enforcement.
Catch up on The Post’s latest in the Sam Bankman-Fried FTX scandal
The plea agreement shows Ellison is still on the line for financial damages and has also been separately sued by the federal government.
Earlier this week, legal experts told The Post why they felt Ellison would turn on Bankman-Fried.
“Almost invariably, people say, ‘At the end of the day, I have to look out for my interest or my family’s interest. Even if I don’t relish what I’m being asked to do,’” said Jack Sharman, a white-collar criminal defense attorney for Lightfoot, Franklin and White.
“[Ellison and Wang] will undermine likely many of [Bankman-Fried’s] defenses or arguments that they were in charge or were doing things without his knowledge,” added Michael Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense attorney at Cole Schotz.
Since the FTX scandal imploded in November, Ellison has given up her jet-setting lifestyle hopping between the company’s ultra-luxe Bahamas penthouse and Hong Kong and has maintained a low profile. She has only been spotted once, grabbing coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Leave a Reply