Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, former top executives of Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency empire, have pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to the collapse of his companies and are cooperating with prosecutors, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
Wang is a cofounder of the FTX crypto exchange. Ellison is the former chief executive of the hedge fund and brokerage arm Alameda Research. Both were founded by Bankman-Fried.
The announcements came on the same day Bankman-Fried was extradited from the Bahamas. Williams confirmed in his video announcement that the former chief of FTX is now in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“[Bankman-Fried] will be transported directly to the Southern district of New York, and he will appear in court before a judge in this district as soon as possible,” Williams said.
The 30-year-old founder of FTX faces charges that include fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and campaign finance violations.
“If you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it. We are moving quickly and our patience is not eternal,” Williams said, calling for others involved in the collapse to come forward.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged both Ellison and Wang for “their roles in a multiyear scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX,” with ongoing investigations for other securities laws violations.
The same day, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also filed fraud charges against Ellison and Wang, which it initially filed against Bankman-Fried on Dec. 13. The amended complaint charges Ellison and Wang with “engaging in a fraudulent scheme, along with previously charged defendants.”
FTX was among the world’s largest crypto exchanges and Bankman-Fried a celebrated figure in the industry until the exchange imploded last month. FTX and Alameda Research filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11, with billions of dollars of client funds reportedly missing or misappropriated.