The FTX Fraud Case Receives Fourth Guilty Plea From Former Executive
After admitting to campaign finance breaches, Ryan Salame has agreed to pay $11 million in penalties and hefty asset forfeitures.
Criminal accusations relating to the massive fraud case involving FTX’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, have resulted in a guilty plea from former high-ranking employee at the crypto exchange, Ryan Salame.
Salame has agreed to pay FTX creditors $5 million and the authorities a fine of $6 million. Additionally, he will have to give up one 2021 Porsche and two Massachusetts properties.
On Thursday, Salame appeared in court and pleaded guilty to running an unregistered money transfer company and to conspiring to deceive the Federal Elections Committee. The maximum sentence for the accusations against him is ten years in prison.
The former head of FTX’s Bahamas subsidiary was a major Republican fundraiser in the 2022 election cycle, giving $24 million to several politicians. He acknowledged to mischaracterizing $10 million in donations as “loans.”
“Ryan Salame agreed to promote the interests of FTX, Alameda Research, and his co-conspirators through an illegal political influence campaign and an unauthorized money-transfer business,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement after Salame’s plea. This helped FTX grow faster and bigger by breaking the law.
Salame said at his hearing that he “understood that the loans would eventually be forgiven” and hence not be required to be returned.
After the fall of FTX, federal investigators investigated Salame and searched his Maryland home early this year. According to the evidence presented in court, he was a key player in Bankman-Fried’s “straw donor” strategy to circumvent campaign donation restrictions.
This is further bad news for Bankman-Fried before his trial begins on October 3. Since the fall of FTX in November, four executives inside Bankman-Fried’s inner circle have admitted criminal activity; Salame’s willingness to collaborate with police makes him the fifth.
Wire fraud, securities fraud, and six other charges led to Bankman-Fried’s arrest in December. He is accused of using consumer monies from FTX to make large purchases of real estate, political contributions, and investments in other companies.
The former manager has pled not guilty, but a court recently revoked his bail because he tried to influence witnesses.