Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has spent his third night in one of New York’s toughest prisons – a reality check after leaving the comfort of house arrest at his parents’ California home.
The news broke on Friday evening that SBF was taken in handcuffs after his bail was revoked in a hearing in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
SBF is now held in Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), which is notoriously known for its scandals which includes everything from inmate mistreatment to corruption. While the federal administrative detention center is built to accommodate only 1,000 occupants, it currently houses over 1,500 inmates.
The current circumstances of living are quite different for the former crypto CEO who, until a few days back, was confined to his parents’ $4million Palo Alto home. The property features five bedrooms and a pool.
The $250m bail had kept him out of custody since his arraignment in December 2022. When Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked the same last week, he described the jail as being “not on anybody’s list of five-star facilities”.
According to the Judge, SBF shared information in his interviews with The New York Times, likely intending “to hurt and frighten” former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, who is also his former colleague. The revocation of his bail happened in the light of Alameda Research CEO’s leaked diary that talked about her feelings toward Bankman-Fried and her role at the company. The prosecutors alleged that the diary leak was planned by SBF with the intentions to discredit and intimidate Ellison.
He had also violated his previous bail conditions, where he was limited to just one phone with no internet capability and a basic laptop with restricted functions. He was forbidden from using other electronic communication devices.
As cited by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon, SBF breached these conditions with a message on the Signal app to FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller in January, using a virtual private network for his internet activity and lastly, by releasing information to reporters aimed at intimidating Ellison.
Listing additional violations, Judge Kaplan declared: “In view of the evidence, my conclusion is that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice. All things considered, I am going to revoke bail.”
However, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have denied the allegations. They classified his contact with reporters as a “proper exercise of his rights to make fair comment on an article already in progress”. They have also appealed the judge’s decision to revoke his bail.
The 11 August hearing saw Judge Kaplan suggesting that the former CEO would potentially be held in jail through the end of his two trials for fraud related to his activities at FTX. He will continue his stay in the premises which has previously held several high-profile figures like artists 6ix9ine, R. Kelly and Fetty Wap.
Jeffery Epstein’s sex-trafficking accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, along with Martin Shkreli, who is better known as ‘pharma bro’, have also been locked up in the Brooklyn jail.