Sam Bankman-Fried created a 'pyramid of deceit' because he 'thought he was ... trends now
Sam Bankman-Fried created a 'pyramid of deceit' with his crypto empire which collapsed, prosecutors claimed in the closing statements of his $8billon fraud trial.
He is accused of committing one of the biggest financial frauds in American history - by using FTX customer deposits to prop up risky investments in fledgling hedge fund Alameda, which he ran with his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison.
Prosecutor Nicolas Roos used his closing arguments to tell the jury that the 31-year-old billionaire 'thought he was smarter and better' and could get away with taking people's money.
The assistant US attorney said his testimony on Friday was a lie which 'had been rehearsed a couple of times'. He claimed he was a different person under cross-examination and could not remember details being asked of him over 140 times.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud and five counts of conspiracy. He acknowledged making mistakes which led to FTX's bankruptcy in November 2022 - harming customers and employees - but denied stealing customers' money.
Sam Bankman-Fried (pictured in August) created a 'pyramid of deceit' with his crypto empire which collapsed, prosecutors claimed in the closing statements of his $8billon fraud trial
Prosecutor Nicolas Roos used his closing arguments to tell the jury that the 31-year-old billionaire 'thought he was smarter and better' and could get away with taking people's money
Bankman-Fried's parents arriving at Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday
Prosecutor Roos laid out the questions the jury needed to answer ahead of the conclusion of the trial.
'As FTX ceased to exist, a series of questions emerged. Where did the money go? What happened? And who is responsible?,' he said.
'You know who was responsible. Sam Bankman-Fried. He spent his customers’ money and he lied to them about it.
'This was a pyramid of deceit built by the defendant on a foundation of lies and false promises, all to get money. Eventually it collapsed, leaving thousands of victims in its wake.'
He added: 'The answer is clear - he took the money, he knew it was wrong. He did it because he thought he was smarter and better and could walk his way and talk his way out of it. But today, with you, that ends.'
The assistant US attorney pointed to Bankman-Fried's testimony on Friday and claimed he lied.
'He didn’t have to testify in this trial. He told a story, and he lied to you,' he said.
Roos said he was able to perfectly recall what the inside of the Alameda Research offices looked like and the thought process behind renaming NBA team Miami Heat's arena to incorporate the FTX name.
'He was a completely different person under cross examination,' he told the jurors.
'Suddenly he couldn’t remember a single detail about his companies. It was uncomfortable to hear. It happened over 140 times.
'He had to be asked and re-asked. He lied about big things and he lied about little things.
'He told you he didn’t know what was going on and he didn’t realize that what was happening was wrong.'
He added: 'To believe the defendant, you would have to ignore the testimonies of his partners in crime, including Caroline Ellison. You would have to ignore the documents.
'You would have to believe the defendant, who graduated from MIT and owned two billion dollar companies, was actually clueless.’
Roos accused Bankman-Fried of 'celebrity chasing', showing jurors the famous picture of him at the 2022 Super Bowl with singer Katy Perry.
He also showed the court a spreadsheet of Alameda finances illustrating a $13.7billion deficit in September 2022.
Roos pointed to the metadata which showed Bankman-Freed had accessed the spreadsheet as 'absolute proof' he knew about the huge financial hole - but claimed he continued to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.
'He had the arrogance to think he could get away with it,' Roos said.
He added that while Ellison said she 'lived in a constant state of terror' over the hole, the CEO continued to 'dig deeper rather than come clean'.
Bankman-Fried listened to the closing statement beside his lawyer, typing on a laptop throughout.
Bankman-Fried pictured in a courtroom sketch during his grilling on October 31
The court will hear from his defense lawyer in the trial later today, before the landmark case is put before jurors.
On the final day of his testimony in court on Tuesday, the alleged crypto fraudster periodically smirked and frowned in response to questions about the collapse of his bitcoin empire in November 2022 and gave a slew of evasive answers.
He was probed on how much he knew about the $8billion 'hole' in his company finances, who was responsible for it, and