back to article Software engineer helped put Sam Bankman-Fried behind bars, say prosecutors

Crypto-crook Sam Bankman-Fried's conviction was expedited by the cooperation of the chief software engineer at his FTX crypto exchange, prosecutors have revealed. The former darling of the cryptocurrency world was sentenced to 25 years behind bars last week in what has been described as one of the largest cases of corporate …

  1. Howard Sway Silver badge

    FTX investigation poem

    Wang sang

    Singh sang too

    Now SBF

    is in the poo

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: FTX investigation poem

      - E.J. Thribb, 17½ Satoshis

  2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    denied deliberately committing crimes

    Sorry mate, but that doesn't change the result of the case. It might affect the sentence though.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

      He's trying to do the equivalent of what murderer's always do - trying to get their crime reclassified as manslaughter.

      "I didn't mean to kill those children when I shot them. Honest."

    2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

      Crypto-crook Sam Bankman-Fried's conviction was expedited by the cooperation of the chief software engineer at his FTX crypto exchange, prosecutors have revealed

      sounds better at trial than

      Crypto-crook Sam Bankman-Fried's crimes were enabled by the cooperation of the chief software engineer.

      Doesn't mean they're not both true. Someone who didn't listen to their conscience is listening to their lawyer.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

        Indeed so. When all that is left is remorse, it’s best laid on heavy and as early as possible.

        There is an important lesson here for all engineers and software developers. As you go through your career you may end up coming across bosses with criminal intent. The dangerous thing is that the boss doesn’t necessarily know that themselves, and doing as they ask can get you into a ton of shit. You have to know something of the law and how it pertains to your work, regardless.

        And, if the spidey senses start telling you something is wrong, don’t let it lie. Do something. That something in the first instance should be a discussion with the boss and a company lawyer.

        If there is a real problem developing this can go two ways, and it’s important that the boss is almost always looking at a major financial impact.

        The best outcome is that the boss accepts your advice and calls in a lawyer and listens to what they say.

        The alternative is that the boss doesn’t do that. At this point, there are things you have to do regardless. You must secure the email train between the boss and yourself on the matter. That must be hard copy. You must go to a lawyer ASAP and lodge that hard copy with them, explaining what these relate to. You need the lawyer to notarise their receipt of the hard copy. This will cost some money, but it’s worth it

        If your boss is particularly volatile, you may need to do this before raising the issue with them.

        The reason why is because that your employment is nearly done at that company,, you’re going to resign or get fired and you need hard evidence that you were not complicit in what may be about to happen. That evidence is your internal communications with the boss on the matter.

        You need to be able to give prosecutors instant and early access to the evidence at any point in time for the rest of your life (this being the only way of ensuring that their first talk to you is also their last).

        A notarised contemporaneous hard copy is excellent hard evidence of your actions and the company response, and the lawyer’s involvement is proof to the authorities that you are extremely unlikely to have fabricated the evidence later on when the heat is on.

        Guess how hard it is to get that evidence off a company server years later when 1) the boss already hates you, and 2) the company itself and the boss are now in the shit, and 3) it is by then potentially quite a while ago? Yes, it is extremely difficult for you to access exonerating evidence when it’s held by the shithead you stopped working for. Who is now looking for a scapegoat.

        Malicious bosses can also be very nice bosses who build excellent teams with a ton of loyalty to themselves. It’s a good way of ensuring there are scapegoats available. It’s also a way of suppressing staff’s spidey senses. It’s more difficult to be objective about a dodgy legal situation when you like your boss a lot. So be on one’s guard. And beware of companies that make it very difficult to print emails.

        So, when those spidey senses kick in, act first to protect oneself, not the company. If there turns out to be no problem and the company learns of what you’ve done, they have no grounds to dismiss you (lodging company information with a lawyer is by definition still properly safeguarding it).

        The other benefit of going to a lawyer is that you can take advice on whistleblowing. There are likely some government organisations that need to know. Blowing a whistle via a lawyer is a better way.

        Never ever go to the press or post it on social media unless you’re feeling very brave!

        This may sound melodramatic but it really does happen. Look at Boeing. There’s software engineers who are not in jail because they played it properly, securing lines of evidence.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

          There’s another engineer who is not in jail because they are dead.

        2. mpi Silver badge

          Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

          > You have to know something of the law and how it pertains to your work, regardless.

          Or, at the very least, some goddamn common sense and human decency. Because those should already suffice to tell most people, that taking funds customers entrusted the company for what's basically gambling, or cutting corners in critical system engineering where human lifes are at stake, are wrong.

          It doesn't hurt to know something of the law as well of course.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

            Or even simply to remember that something which sounds too good to be true probably is.

            Occasionally someone stumbles on a new financial wheeze which is legal, unexploited by others, and highly profitable. The Economist had a nice retrospective on several such some years (probably decades) back. But they're rare, because there are always many relatively bright and informed players looking for them. And while the Efficient Market Hypothesis has about as much predictive power as Groundhog Day, financial markets rarely miss a big opportunity to actually make money. When they misprice investments, it's usually slightly too low or very much too high.

            So when you come across an investment which is claiming huge probable returns, assume either the probable return is grossly overestimated, or some cost has not been factored in. Such as the cost of going to prison for a long time.

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

              An acquaintance working in financial compliance within a London financial institution said that their worst nightmare was Excel.

              The normal pattern of events was that traders would dream up an idea, they'd submit it to the right panel in the company, compliance would mull over the idea and pronounce it fit / illegal, and then the softies would code it up and then unleash it on the market.

              Or, they could just hack something together for themselves in Excel and not tell anybody what they were actually doing.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

                Sounds like an opportunity to develip something that looks for unusual Excel activities and flags the people doing it

        3. ciaran
          Big Brother

          Seems like there's an oppertunity for a whistleblowing service!

          > You need the lawyer to notarise their receipt of the hard copy.

          There should be a service provided by your local law enforcement to timestamp compromising details.

          The law should say that no-one can be accused of mishandling information posted to the service.

          Law enforcement gets to read and aggregate the submissions.

          Submissions should be anonymous, but the submitter should be able to prove they were the source.

          In a court case the submitter can use the information as mitigating evidence, depending on how clear and relevant it was.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: denied deliberately committing crimes

        Plea bargain for a misdemeanour.

  3. captain veg Silver badge

    Deliberate or not

    Well, we can dismiss that fiction straight off. Taking other people's money without their consent is theft no matter what you do with it for no matter what motivation. This isn't hard to understand by even the meanest intellect.

    There's really nothing more to say on the subject.

    [Edit]

    Other than that I'm quite disgusted that his co-criminals can potentially get off scot-free for snitching on him. Let's hope that they all get slammed up.

    -A.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Deliberate or not

      I doubt any of them will "get off scot-free". We'll have to see, of course, but that seems like a very hard deal for a judge to swallow.

  4. Jurassic.Hermit

    Crypto Crime

    Just because it was crypto they assumed that they were outside of the financial system and nobody would notice let alone care.

    25 years isn’t long enough for this shyster and his co-conspirators, he showed zero remorse.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet

    The Crypto route is still crowded with hopefuls and the foolish…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet

      Re-invigorated by the bizzare legalisation/SEC capitulation of Crypto backed ETF’s and the influence of shysters like Blackrock.

      https://amp.theguardian.com/technology/2024/jan/11/bitcoin-etf-approved-sec-explained-meaning-securities-regulator-twee

      You can already see it’s going to end in a pile of shite… with Blackrock and it’s ilk having long exited and cashed in and crypto suckers left nursing another financial meltdown and tax-payers bailing it out.

    2. mpi Silver badge

      Re: And yet

      It always was and always will be.

      Cryptoshit, by definition, is a zero sum game. Even if we took crypto-bros at their word and actually believed that this crap is viable as a non-state-controlled form of currency: Any currency not state-controlled, is also not state backed, meaning it's automatically a zero sum game. Or to put this in simpler words: A system that can only dole out the exact amount of cash that has been put in, and not a penny more, as there is no mechanism for value generation.

      So inevitably, the only way for this system to benefit any investor, is by some other investors to lose.

      It really is that simple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And yet

        Classic Ponzi Scheme.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: And yet

          No, not a classic Ponzi scheme. FTX was, although it was more of a classic "I stole your money and spent it". But cryptocurrency, while there are a lot of problems with it in general, is not, nor is the description to which you replied describing a Ponzi scheme. A zero-sum environment does not make a Ponzi scheme. It makes something where there are winners and losers, not just winners. A lot of investment either is or looks like this environment, and investing properly often involves trying to find something that escapes it, hence the focus on growth when valuing companies.

          The difference is important. If you dismiss everything related to cryptocurrency as a Ponzi scheme, it makes it sound as if you understand neither cryptocurrency nor Ponzi schemes. When something like FTX comes along which actually is a Ponzi scheme, people won't believe those who call them out because they've become used to people describing things incorrectly. There are ways to express a general or total contempt and distrust of cryptocurrency without being inaccurate. Others will benefit if you use them.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: And yet

            Agreed. There are many types of fraud which are not Ponzi schemes, and there are many types of bad financial ideas which aren't fraud. For that matter, there are financial crimes which aren't fraud, including the ones that cryptocurrency organizations (such as they are) are most often accused of — regulatory failings such as not following KYC rules.

            (The original Ponzi scheme was itself only barely a Ponzi scheme, since all evidence suggests Ponzi himself, who was innumerate and had no record-keeping to speak of, thought it was legitimate. See Bulgatz.)

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