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U.S. prosecutors launch website for Bankman-Fried alleged fraud victims

Reuters · 01/06/2023 13:20
U.S. prosecutors launch website for Bankman-Fried alleged fraud victims

By Luc Cohen

- The U.S. government plans to launch a website for victims of FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried's alleged fraud to communicate with law enforcement.

In court papers filed on Friday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan asked U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan for permission to use the website to victims, rather than contacting each individually.

FTX could owe money to more than 1 million people, making it "impracticable" to contact each, the papers said.

Federal law requires prosecutors to contact possible crime victims to inform them of their rights, including the rights to obtain restitution, be heard in court and be protected from defendants.

Kaplan has yet to rule on the request, but the website had gone live by Friday afternoon.

"If you believe that you may have been a victim of fraud by Samuel Bankman-Fried, A/K/A/ 'SBF,' please contact the victim/witness coordinator at the United States Attorney's office," the website read.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan did immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bankman-Fried, 30, has pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud and conspiracy over November's collapse of FTX.

Prosecutors have said he stole billions in FTX customer deposits to pay debts for his hedge fund, Alameda Research, and lied to investors about FTX's financial condition.

The onetime billionaire has acknowledged risk management shortcomings, but said he did consider himself criminally liable.

Bankman-Fried's lawyers did immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York Editing by Leslie Adler)

((luc.cohen@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 361 1622; Reuters Messaging: Twitter: @cohenluc))