The release this week of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency executive, from federal custody on a $250 million bond has raised questions about the federal bail process and why such a high-profile defendant was allowed to go free.
The bond essentially amounts to a promise to appear in court when required; it does not compel Bankman-Fried, who is charged with numerous crimes related to his handling of the cryptocurrency exchange he founded, to pay $250 million.
No money has changed hands and none will unless Bankman-Fried fails to show up for court or is found to have violated other conditions set by the judge.
In that case, his parents’ house in Palo Alto, Calif., which was used to secure the bond, could be seized by the government. The four people who are to co-sign the bond, including one nonfamily member, would be on the hook for the rest of the $250 million.
Two of those people are Mr. Bankman-Fried’s parents, Stanford law professors who supported their son in promoting his exchange, FTX. It is not known who the other two co-signers are.
A spokesman for Mr. Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
The fact that he have a spokesman, says a lot about the money he hold, despite declaring bankruptcy.
How is it possible that such a high-profile defendant was released without having to pay any money?
The simple, straightforward answer is: he donated enough money -just as Jeffery Epstein did- to get a VIP legal treatment.
The formal answer sound real, just as Cinderella:
Bankman-Fried was in the Bahamas when he was charged, and extradition can be a highly complicated process, leading to a lengthy legal battle. In court on Thursday, a prosecutor, Nicolas Roos, said that had Bankman-Fried not consented to extradition, it was “a near certainty” that the government would have sought his detention.
Sabrina Shroff, a former federal defender, said: “My guess is that this was an agreed-upon bail package before he ever left the Bahamas. Extradition from the Bahamas is difficult, and the defendant may have had ample opportunity to challenge extradition, which could have dragged out for years.”
$250 million seems like a really high number. Is it?
Yes. And not really. Yes, It is highly unusual for such a large bond to be set. But it’s a pocket money for someone who stole billions of investors money. For him and his parents (his partners in crime), $250 million it’s a pocket money.
Bernie Madoff received a $10 million bail agreement in 2008. But the amount that Madoff stole is very small compared to the amount Bankman-Fried stole, and the real value of the American dollar and governments money in general in 2008 was at least five times higher than its value today.
But it’s far different cases. The big difference between Madoff and Bankman Fried is that Madoff stole money from important people, while Sam Bankman-Fried bribed legislators, regulators,politicians, judges and processors with huge sums. This gives him dignity and freedom while he is not yet convicted, and ensures that he and his family will live a life of wealth and happiness also after the trial, while Madoff died as a poor man in prison and his family ended their lives in tragic circumstances.
Thomas J. Barrack Jr., however, a friend of Donald J. Trump’s who was charged - and eventually acquitted - with so called illegally lobbying the United States on behalf of leaders in the United Arab Emirates, is one of few defendants in recent memory whose bail amount was as high as Bankman-Fried’s, although the sums they took into their pockets was zero compared to the huge sums that Farid earned from the fraud he committed.
But if the crypto executive crook abides by the terms set by the court:
Those terms are manifold though and include:
Bankman-Fried must surrender his travel documents and stay at his parents’ house.
He must not open new lines of credit or start another business.
He may not enter into any financial transactions of more than $1,000, except to pay his legal fees.
He agrees to be monitored electronically.
The value of his parents’ house has either already been assessed or is now likely to be, and a lien on the house must be posted by Jan. 12.
Tax free fraud.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents have also been under scrutiny - but not arrested not investigated - for their deep wide and direct relationships within FTX. Yes, they did not been investigated and not arrested, only profited from the fraud.
His father, Joseph Bankman, a tax expert, actually worked for the company while his mother, Barbara Fried, counted her son among the donors within a political advocacy network she orchestrated.
So they know how to enjoy a fraud, tax free.
What does this have to do with New York’s bail law?
Absolutely nothing. New York’s bail law Is designed against the poor, black, Latinos, not white privileged elite.
New York’s bail law, which was passed in 2019 so that defendants accused of certain low-level crimes would not be required to pay cash bail, has been the subject of considerable controversy. But Mr. Bankman-Fried’s case is federal, so he is not subject to that law.
Defense lawyers observing the case said there was, however, one point of commonality between the spirit of that law — which in part sought to prevent bail from being used to detain defendants unnecessarily — and the release of Mr. Bankman-Fried. Ms. Shroff said that the presumption of innocence was embedded in the Federal Bail Reform Act of 1966, which governs bail law.
Sam Bankman-Fried “should get bail,” she said. “In fact, most people facing federal criminal charges, should have the opportunity to fight their charges from outside. Detention serves to break the spirit and strength of clients and that is not the purpose of the bail act.”
But the crime of all the thieves of New York in one year is much less than the crime sums of Bankman Freed, so any attempt to compare the cases is manipulation and fraud in itself.
The bottom line is this is a mega-thief, who receives celebrity and respect from law enforcement and the media.
Just like the list of tycoons who raped teenagers provided to them by Jeffery Epstein, and were never prosecuted or even investigated.
The only one who pays the price is poor Ghislaine Maxwell, the assistant of the provider of the underage-prostitution services the rich people consumed from teenagers, not the criminals themselves. They are still at the top of the list of the world's richest and most respected.
This is indeed the land of the free.