Bernie Madoff’s lawyer tells Sam Bankman-Fried to ‘shut up’

As media and paparazzi watched the stormy fall of FTX founder Sam Bankman Fried outside a New York City courthouse, Bernie Madoff’s former attorney was feeling “déja vu all over again.”

“I’ve been there, done that,” said Ira Lee Sorkin, the attorney who represented Madoff during his Ponzi scheme trial, in an exclusive interview on “Countdown Claman” Thursday. “When the scope of Madoff’s scam developed, it became a circus… There were cameras everywhere, satellite dishes, even ABC News, from what I understand, rented a place across the street with a camera that could look right into his penthouse. So there was no way to skip it.And there doesn’t seem to be a way Mr [Bankman-Fried] He was about to skip.”

A New York judge ruled Thursday that Bankman-Fried can put up a $250 million bond and live in his parents’ California home while he awaits trial on fraud charges.

Disgraced authorities arrested Founder of Crypto Exchange in the Bahamas earlier in the month. Since then, he has faced multiple charges from the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The charges Bankman-Fried faces in the United States include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodity fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the FEC and campaign finance violations. says the Ministry of Justice.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, leaves after being arraigned in New York City on December 22, 2022. New York Judge Gabriel Gornstein has ordered that Bankman-Fried be released on $250 million bail. (Getty Images)

It is estimated that $1.8 billion in FTX investor assets were lost at the hands of Bankman-Fried. Sorkin explained why the disgraced cryptocurrency leader received a more “restrictive” bail, when Madoff was released on a $10 million bond while he was liable for $20 billion in real losses.

“The scope of the Bernie Madoff case has never been as well known as it is for this kid. That’s the difference,” Sorkin told host Liz Claman. “And the government got into it pretty quickly, in this particular case. They had collaborators. There were no collaborators in Madoff. The government didn’t know, like I said, the extent of Madoff’s fraud.”

Just weeks after the FTX collapse, Bankman-Fried made a virtual appearance at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit, where he admitted to making “a lot of mistakes,” and insisted he “never tried to defraud anyone.”

Sorkin offered some tough legal advice to Pinkman Fried.

FTX: What Sambank’s fried lawyers will likely see in its defense

“Shut up. Don’t talk. And whatever advice he got was bad advice, to go out and try to say, ‘I didn’t mean to,'” Sorkin said. “The real issue is that the government had collaborators before the indictment was issued, because the indictment claims that there were a series of conspiracies. You can’t conspire with yourself. There must be at least two people. So when the indictment was presented to him, he said several conspiracies, which I mean, there were other people involved.”

“The government will also charge them,” the lawyer added. “And quite frankly, the number of conspiracies and substantial charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, etc. would add to the exposure for him.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damien Williams called on anyone who has engaged in misconduct at FTX or its sister company Alameda Research to come forward and “move forward.”

Sorkin said he believed more executives could be charged, and speculated that the “detailed” SEC complaint indicated that the investigation into FTX began before its eventual downfall.

“Someone, as we say in this business,” Sorkin explained, “bothered him,” someone went to the government, blew a whistle, and started talking about him and FTX.” The SEC put this together and gave it to the US Attorney, and then the US Attorney Now by taking her out and issuing a criminal case against her.”

Former Bankman Fried girlfriend and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison has already been found guilty of fraud charges in the FTX crash and will likely get jail time, Sorkin has predicted.

“She did not enter the court and admit guilt,” the lawyer said. “She had negotiations on her behalf by the attorney and the US Attorney to establish a co-operation agreement where she would cooperate, plead guilty to one or more counts, and be liable to a certain number of years in prison.”

Sorkin argued that Pinkman-Fried’s public excuses that he had made mistakes and did not know what was happening, “are not true”.

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“It’s a conscious avoidance and willful blindness where you simply close your eyes for two years,” he said. “It’s very difficult to argue that I was willfully blind and consciously avoided it. This has been going on for two years. He has a problem and it would be a serious sentence.”

Ira Lee Sorkin is an attorney at Mintz & Gold who specializes in employee criminal defense, SEC enforcement and other regulatory actions. Sorkin has represented Fox News Media and Fox Corporation on a variety of matters.

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FOX Business’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.

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