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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday to charges that he cheated investors and looted customer deposits on his cryptocurrency trading platform.

Bankman-Fried, 30, is accused of illegally diverting massive sums of customer money from FTX to make lavish real estate purchases, donate money to politicians and make risky trades at Alameda Research, his cryptocurrency hedge fund trading firm.

Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, announced his client’s plea, saying: “He pleads not guilty to all counts.”

Wearing a backpack, Bankman-Fried marched through a crush of cameras as he entered the courthouse on a rainy day to make his first appearance before Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Besides taking a plea during the arraignment, Kaplan was expected to discuss with lawyers a schedule for proceeding toward a trial.

Prior to his appearance, his lawyers sent a letter to the judge, saying Bankman-Fried’s parents in recent weeks have become the target of “intense media scrutiny, harassment, and threats, including communications expressing a desire that they suffer physical harm.”

As a result, the lawyers requested that the names be redacted on court documents for the two individuals who were lined up to sign Bankman-Fried’s $250 million personal recognizance bond. Bankman-Fried was released with electronic monitoring about two weeks ago on the condition that he await trial at his parents’ house in Palo Alto, California.

Carolyn Ellison, 28, who ran Alameda, and Gary Wang, 29, who co-founded FTX, have pleaded guilty to fraud charges and are cooperating with prosecutors in a bid for leniency. Both are free on bail.

Their pleas were kept secret until Bankman-Fried was in the air after his extradition from the Bahamas, where FTX is based, due to fears that he might flee.

Shortly before Bankman-Fried’s arraignment, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams announced that he was launching a task force made up of senior prosecutors in his office to investigate and prosecute matters related to the FTX collapse. He said the task force also will work to trace and recover victim assets.

“The Southern District of New York is working around the clock to respond to the implosion of FTX,” Williams said in a press release. “It is an all-hands-on-deck moment. We are launching the SDNY FTX Task Force to ensure that this urgent work continues, powered by all of SDNY’s resources and expertise, until justice is done.”


GameStop’s stock is back to the races Friday, and the overall U.S. market is down again, as the saga that’s captivated and confused Wall Street ramps up the drama.

GameStop shot up more than 70% in midday trading, clawing back most of its steep loss from the day before, after Robinhood said it will allow customers to start buying some of the stock again. GameStop has been on a stupefying 1,900% run over the last three weeks and has become the battleground where swarms of smaller investors see themselves making an epic stand against the 1%.

The assault is directed squarely at hedge funds and other Wall Street titans that had bet the struggling video game retailer’s stock would fall. A couple have already essentially admitted defeat, with one saying Friday it would stop publishing reports on stocks it expects to fall. The army of smaller and novice investors, meanwhile, is pledging to keep up the momentum for GameStop’s stock in hopes of inflicting more pain on the financial elite.

The moves are reverberating across Wall Street, as concerns rise about how much damage the frenzy could do as its effects spill out into the broader market. The big professional investors who had been banking on a drop for GameStop’s stock are taking sharp losses. Investors say that’s pushing them to sell other stocks they own to raise cash, and that is helping to pull down parts of the market completely unrelated to the revolt by Main Street investors.



One of Apple's former top lawyers is facing accusations of brazenly breaking the company's insider trading rules that he helped draft, while profiting from stock sales and investments made after he received confidential information about Apple's finances.

The allegations against Gene Levoff emerged in criminal and civil complaints filed Wednesday in a New Jersey federal court by the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Levoff, 45, realized gains and avoided losses totaling more than $600,000 in illegal trades made periodically from 2011 to 2016, based on estimates provided in the documents.

Before Apple fired him last September, Levoff held various roles in Apple's corporate law department starting in 2008. Apple promoted him to senior director of corporate law in 2013 overseeing as many as 30 attorneys. He also had responsibility for drawing up company policies designed to prevent employees from violating federal laws that prohibit stock market trading based on privileged information.

Levoff's alleged misconduct "was particularly egregious given his responsibility for implementing the company's insider trading compliance policy," said Antonia Chion, associate director for the SEC's enforcement division.

Kevin Marino, the attorney representing Levoff in the proceedings, said he is looking forward to fighting the allegations.

If he is convicted in the criminal case, Levoff faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a $5 million fine.

Levoff broke the law repeatedly, the complaints allege, by leveraging his position on a special committee that reviewed key numbers contained in Apple's quarterly earnings reports before the results were publicly announced.

His most brash move came in July 2015 when Apple was preparing to release its results for the April-June period of that year. As part of Apple's disclosure committee, Levoff received a July 10 preview showing that the company's sales of iPhones for the quarter had missed the targets set by Wall Street analysts — a shortfall that typically causes Apple's stock to fall.

Levoff then sold nearly all of his Apple holdings — more than 70,000 shares worth about $10 million at the time — four days before the company released the results, according to the complaints. The day after those numbers came out, Apple's stock fell by 4 percent. That downturn lumped Apple's shareholders with collective losses of $32 billion on paper, but Levoff avoided about $345,000 in losses by selling shortly before the announcement, the government alleged.


The smirk wiped from his face, a crying Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud Friday in a hard fall for the pharmaceutical-industry bad boy vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.

Shkreli, the boyish-looking, 34-year-old entrepreneur dubbed the "Pharma Bro" for his loutish behavior, was handed his punishment after a hearing in which he and his attorney struggled with limited success to make him a sympathetic figure

The defendant hung his head and choked up as he admitted to many mistakes and apologized to the investors he was convicted of defrauding. At one point, a clerk handed him a box of tissues.

"I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing: The only person to blame for me being here today is me," he said. "There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli."

In the end, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave him a sentence that fell well short of the 15 years prosecutors wanted but was a lot longer than the 18 months his lawyer asked for. He was also fined $75,000.

He was found guilty in August of lying to investors in two failed hedged funds and cheating them out of millions. The case was unrelated to the 2015 furor in which he was accused of price-gouging, but his arrest was seen as rough justice by the many enemies he made with his smug and abrasive behavior online and off.

The judge insisted that the punishment was not about Shkreli's online antics or his raising the cost of the drug. "This case is not about Mr. Shkreli's self-cultivated public persona ... nor his controversial statements about politics or culture," Matsumoto said.

But she did say his conduct after the verdict made her doubt the sincerity of his remorse. She cited his bragging after the verdict that he would be sentenced to time served. And she quoted one piece of correspondence in which he wrote: "F--- the feds."

The judge ruled earlier that Shkreli would have to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets, including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted of buying for $2 million.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman described Shkreli as a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make his defrauded investors even wealthier. He told the court that he sometimes wants to hug Shkreli and sometimes wants to punch him , but that his outspokenness shouldn't be held against him.



Federal prosecutors in New York say a Belize resident has pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy for helping clients profit off illegal stock trades and then laundering more than $250 million.

U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers announced the plea Monday by Robert Bandfield of IPC Corp.

Capers says Bandfield, a U.S. citizen, incorporated more than 5,000 shell companies in Belize and the West Indies for securities and tax fraud schemes.

Money was laundered through pre-paid debit cards.

He faces up to 20 years in prison. He's agreed to forfeit $1 million.



A federal appeals court in New York has agreed to rehear the appeal of the insider-trading conviction of a former board member for Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday issued an order saying it will rehear the claims of Rajat Gupta (rah-JAHT' GOOP'-tah). His lawyers say his 2012 conviction on conspiracy and securities fraud charges should be tossed because he was innocent and the jury was improperly instructed.

His attorney Gary Naftalis says he is pleased with the court's ruling and believes there are meritorious issues to present on appeal.

The 57-year-old Gupta is confined to his Westport, Connecticut, home. He won't be formally finished serving a two-year prison sentence until next month.



The Supreme Court turned away an appeal from a former Toronto stockbroker convicted in a multimillion-dollar securities fraud who says federal prosecutors should have turned over documents that might have helped his defense.

The justices Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said prosecutors didn't have to share information about the drug use of a key witness against George Georgiou. The lower court sided with prosecutors who said defense lawyers could have discovered the publicly available records on their own.

Georgiou's lawyers said prosecutors had a duty to disclose the information if they were aware of it. Several former Justice Department officials backed his claim and urged the court to take the case.

Georgiou was convicted on charges of manipulating markets of four stocks, causing $55 million in losses.


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