Former FTX Executives Face Sentencing: Cooperation May Lead to Leniency

  • July 10, 2024


Former FTX executives Nishad Singh and Gary Wang are scheduled for sentencing later this year
Singh’s sentencing is set for October 30, while Wang’s is scheduled for November 20
Both pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts and testified against Sam Bankman-Fried in his criminal trial
Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, does not yet have a scheduled sentencing date
Singh and Wang provided crucial testimony about FTX’s misuse of customer funds and hidden code
Both could face decades in prison, but are likely to receive reduced sentences due to their cooperation

The legal aftermath of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange collapse continues to unfold as two key former executives, Nishad Singh and Gary Wang, are scheduled for sentencing later this year.

U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial, has set the sentencing dates for Singh on October 30 and Wang on November 20, 2024.

Singh, FTX’s former Director of Engineering, and Wang, the exchange’s co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer, both played pivotal roles in the criminal case against Bankman-Fried.

Their guilty pleas and subsequent testimony were instrumental in the conviction of the former FTX CEO, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history.

The upcoming sentencings mark a significant milestone in the FTX saga, as they will determine the fates of two executives who were deeply involved in the exchange’s operations but chose to cooperate with authorities.

Singh pleaded guilty to six criminal charges including fraud and conspiracy in February 2023, while Wang admitted to four charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy counts, in December 2022.

During Bankman-Fried’s trial, both Singh and Wang provided damaging testimony about the inner workings of FTX and its sister company, Alameda Research. Singh revealed that he discovered an $8 billion hole in FTX’s finances around September 2022, just months before the exchange’s collapse.

He also admitted to programming systems that routed customer deposits to Alameda’s bank accounts and gave the trading firm special privileges on the FTX platform.

Wang’s testimony was equally crucial, as he identified a piece of code designed to misrepresent FTX’s “public insurance fund,” a figure meant to reassure investors about the exchange’s stability. He stated that this figure was essentially fabricated and had no relation to the actual funds available.

The cooperation of Singh and Wang with federal authorities is likely to play a significant role in their sentencing. Braden Perry, a partner at Kennyhertz Perry and former federal enforcement attorney, told The Block,

“Cooperators will likely receive a heavy reduction in their sentence.”

This reduction is typically based on a “5k1.1 motion” from the government, which requests a decrease in sentence due to substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting other criminals.

Perry added, “In the white-collar first-time offender status, both Singh and Wang will likely see a minimal term of imprisonment.” However, the exact sentences will depend on the extent of their assistance and the final guideline sentence based on the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) used by the judge.

It’s worth noting that while Singh and Wang have sentencing dates, Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research who also testified against Bankman-Fried, does not yet have a scheduled sentencing date. Ellison pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy charges.

The sentencing of these former executives comes in the wake of another FTX-related sentencing.

Ryan Salame, former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, was recently sentenced to 7.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges. Unlike Singh and Wang, Salame did not testify against Bankman-Fried, which may have contributed to his longer sentence.

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