Bernie Madoff Lawyer Says Sam Bankman-Fried Should 'Shut Up'

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As he watched the media and paparazzi storm FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried outside a New York City courthouse, the former attorney for Bernie Madoff was feeling “deja vu again.”

“I’ve been there, I’ve done that,” Ira Lee Sorkin, the attorney who represented Madoff during the Ponzi trial, said in an exclusive interview with The Claman Countdown on Thursday. “As the scope of Madoff’s hoax developed, it became a circus… Straight to cover for him. So there was no way for him to jump. And there doesn’t seem to be a way for Mr. [Bankman-Fried] was going to jump.”

A New York judge ruled Thursday that Bankman-Fried can post $250 million bail and live in her parents’ California home while awaiting trial on fraud charges.

The authorities arrested the bastard crypto exchange founder in the Bahamas earlier this month. Since then, he has been hit with multiple indictments from the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

JUDGE ALLOWS FTX FOUNDER SAM BANKMAN-FRIED TO BE RELEASED ON $250M BAIL TO PARENTS’ PALO ALTO HOME

Charges Bankman-Fried faces in the U.S. include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodity fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission and commit campaign finance violations, says the Justice Department.

Sam Bankman-Fried is released from prison

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried walks out following his New York City arraignment on December 22, 2022. New York Judge Gabriel Gorenstein ordered Bankman-Fried released on $250 million bail. (Getty Images)

An estimated $1.8 billion of FTX investors’ assets were lost at the hands of Bankman-Fried. Sorkin explained why the disgraced cryptocurrency kingpin is being given a more “restrictive” bail, when Madoff was released on $10 million bail, accounting for $20 billion in actual losses.

“The scope of the Bernie Madoff case wasn’t as well known as it is for this kid. That’s the difference,” Sorkin told host Liz Claman. “And the government got into it very quickly, in this particular case. They had cooperators. There were no cooperators in Madoff. The government didn’t know, as I said, the scope of Madoff’s fraud.”

A few weeks after the FTX collapse, Bankman-Fried virtually appeared at The New York Times DealBook summit, where he admitted to having made “a lot of mistakes” and insisted that he had “never tried to commit fraud on anyone”.

Sorkin gave Bankman-Fried some stern legal advice.

FTX: WHAT SAM BANKMAN-FRIED’S ATTORNEYS WILL LIKELY ARGUE IN HIS DEFENSE

“Shut up. Don’t talk. And whatever advice he got was bad advice, to come out and try to say, ‘I didn’t mean to,'” Sorkin said. “The real issue is that the government had cooperators before the indictment, because the indictment alleges a number of conspiracies. You cannot conspire with yourself. There has to be at least two people. So when the indictment was released, it said numerous conspiracies, which means there were other people involved.”

“The government will also charge them,” continued the lawyer. “And frankly, the number of conspiracies and the substantive counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and so on are going to add a lot of exposure for him.”

At a news conference on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, urged anyone who has participated in misconduct at FTX or sister company Alameda Research to come forward and “get ahead of the curve.” “.

Sorkin expressed his belief that more executives could be indicted, speculating that the SEC’s very “detailed” complaint indicates that the investigation into FTX began before its final downfall.

“Someone, as we say in this business, ‘reported him,’ someone went to the government, denounced, started talking about him and FTX,” explained Sorkin. “The SEC put that together and gave it to the US Attorney, and the US Attorney now takes it and makes a criminal case out of it.”

Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison has already pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the FTX collapse and will likely receive jail time, Sorkin predicted.

“She didn’t just go to court and plead guilty,” the lawyer said. “She had negotiations on her behalf with the attorney and the US Attorney to establish a cooperative agreement in which she would cooperate, she would plead guilty to one or more charges and would be exposed to a certain number of years in prison.”

Bankman-Fried’s public apologies that he made mistakes and didn’t know what was going on “simply aren’t true,” Sorkin argued.

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“It’s conscious avoidance and willful blindness where you just close your eyes for a period of two years,” he said. “It’s very hard to argue that I was purposefully blind and consciously avoided this. This went on for a few years. He has a problem and it will be a serious sentence.”

Ira Lee Sorkin is an attorney at Mintz & Gold specializing in white-collar criminal defense, SEC enforcement and other regulatory proceedings. Sorkin has represented Fox News Media and Fox Corporation on various matters.

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Greg Norman of FOX Business contributed to this report.

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