FTX’s Gary Wang and Alameda’s Caroline Ellison Plead Guilty to Fraud, Duo Is ‘Cooperating’ With Feds
On Dec. 21, 2022, U.S. attorney Damian Williams announced that the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Department of Justice (DOJ) filed charges against Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang. Williams declared that both Ellison and Wang have been cooperating with law enforcement officials. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also charged Wang and Ellison the same day, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) followed suit with charges. “Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang acknowledge liability,” the CFTC said in a statement on Wednesday.
Wang and Ellison Are Cooperating With Law Enforcement
U.S. attorney Damian Williams and the SDNY Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the government has filed fraud charges against FTX co-founder Zixiao (Gary) Wang and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison.
“Both [Ellison and Wang] have pleaded guilty to [the] charges,” Williams told the press. “And they are both cooperating with the [SDNY]. Let me reiterate a call that I made last week. If you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it.”
Williams further added that “[law enforcement] is moving quickly and our patience is not eternal.” Williams also told the press that FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is now in custody with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). SBF is “on his way back to the United States,” Williams stressed.
The attorney noted that SBF will be transported to the SDNY district and appear before a judge “as soon as possible.” “Many individuals in The Bahamas and the United States contributed to the swiftness of the defendant’s return,” Williams said. The U.S. attorney thanked The Bahamas for assisting in the investigation.
SEC and CFTC Follow SDNY’s Lead
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also filed charges against Wang and Ellison on Wednesday.
“Ellison, at the direction of Bankman-Fried, furthered the scheme by manipulating the price of FTT, an FTX-issued exchange crypto security token, by purchasing large quantities on the open market to prop up its price,” the SEC press statement disclosed. “FTT served as collateral for undisclosed loans by FTX of its customers’ assets to Alameda, a crypto hedge fund owned by Wang and Bankman-Fried and run by Ellison.” The SEC added:
Ellison and Wang are cooperating with the SEC’s ongoing investigation.
The CFTC’s charges show that Wang added special features to FTX’s code to bolster Alameda Research. “As alleged in the amended complaint, Wang created features in the code underlying the FTX trading platform that allowed Alameda to maintain an essentially unlimited line of credit on FTX,” the CFTC said on Wednesday.
“Ellison and Wang do not contest their liability on the CFTC’s claims,” the CFTC added. “Both have agreed to the entry of consent orders of judgment as to their liability for engaging in fraud in violation of Section 6(c)(1) of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulation 180.1.”
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