Disgraced cryptocurrency investor Sam Bankman-Fried is worse than infamous Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, but is unlikely to stand trial, Judge Jeanine Pirro said on “The Five” Thursday.
A New York judge ruled Thursday that Bankman-Fried can post $250 million bond and live in his parents’ home in California as he awaits trial on fraud charges. Pirro said there is likely a good reason the U.S. government appeared slightly tardy in arresting SBF, after he was initially detained and jailed in the Bahamas.
Pirro, who once served as Republican district attorney in the county where Bankman-Fried landed, said the feds clearly wanted to levy charges against Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison and former FTX CTO Zixiao “Gary” Wang before going after the disgraced investor.
“The feds clearly wanted to get these two to plead guilty to very similar charges. They had to meet the conditions of the plea deal. The conditions of the plea deal are that they testify and cooperate with the feds in incriminating Sam Bankman-Fried,” she said on “The Five.”
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“That was done and tied up last night. And as soon as they landed in New York, it was a done deal. What that means is that the chances of this going to trial are slim to none.”
With Wang and Ellison pleading guilty, Pirro said their sentences are likely to be commensurate with their cooperation in Bankman-Fried’s proceedings.
Their pleas also may prevent Bankman-Fried from being able to claim he “didn’t know enough” about the alleged goings-on at FTX, she said.
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“In the end, this guy is worse than Madoff,” Pirro added. “And the reason he is worse than Madoff is that Madoff… used an individual’s money to pay another individual.”
“This Sam Bankman-Fried used the money for a lavish lifestyle for himself, his family and real estate. He’s a dirtbag, big-time.”
“The Five” panelist Will Cain added the case is less about Bankman-Fried and more about where the investor purportedly spent his money.
“I’m not talking about the homes or the lavish lifestyles. It’s the people that benefited from his largesse: It is the media organizations that he funded were up to, I think, almost a half a dozen media organizations who were living in some part off of the funds from FTX,” Cain said.
“It’s Democrat politicians who were getting big campaign donations from Sam Bankman-Fried. To me, this is the story.”
Cain said the FTX scandal is the latest example of Americans being “unwitting participants in shaping their own lives,” comparing the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic response to the way as FTX investors were allegedly unwittingly contributing to Bankman-Fried’s worldview and donation tendencies.
“I will shape it for you through media. I will shape it through you for politics. And these people did not choose to participate in his manipulation of our world,” he said.
Bernie Madoff, who orchestrated a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, died in 2021 while serving federal time in Butner, North Carolina.