Senate Banking panel chair hails conviction of Bankman-Fried as ‘victory’

Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Friday hailed the conviction of one-time cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried on seven charges of fraud and conspiracy as a “victory.”

“This verdict is a victory for everyone fighting fraud and scams in crypto. In this trial, we saw how crypto companies like FT think the law doesn’t apply to them, gamble with consumers’ money, and lie to the public,” Brown said in a statement.

“Americans continue to lose money every day in crypto scams and frauds. We need to crack down on abuses and can’t let the crypto industry write its own rulebook,” he said.

A jury of nine women and three men convicted Bankman-Fried after four hours of deliberation Thursday. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 110 years in prison, and his sentencing is scheduled for March 28.

The 31-year-old disgraced former crypto king gave away more than $100 million in political contributions to build his influence in Washington. He is accused of stealing more than $10 billion from customers and once had an estimated net worth of more than $20 billion.

Brown held a hearing in the Banking Committee earlier this year on the 2022 crash in cryptocurrency values, in which the crypto market lost $1.46 trillion in value.

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He noted at the time that hackers and fraudsters, often tied to foreign governments, stole more than $3 billion in 2022.

Brown has argued that crypto firms that filed for bankruptcy turned out to be overleveraged and undercapitalized and lacked internal risk controls.

His committee examined in the previous Congress how cryptocurrency has been used to smuggle drugs and traffic people, and how fraud and speculation in the crypto market has hurt investors.

Brown announced last month that the Banking Committee will next investigate what role cryptocurrency may have played in financing Hamas’s accumulation of weapons used to attack Israeli civilians.

“Not surprisingly, after the attack it was reported that Hamas has raised millions of dollars in crypto to fund their operations. We need to crack down on the use of crypto to fund terrorism and evade sanctions,” Brown said at a hearing on illicit finance and terrorism last week.

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