An important witness in the current FTX investigation may be able to avoid all seven charges against her by entering into a plea bargain. Under the terms of the deal, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison may be promptly freed on a $250,000 bond and prosecuted solely for criminal tax crimes.
On December 21st, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the plea agreement reached with Ellison. As stated in the paper, the former Alameda executive will be exonerated of all key allegations, which could have resulted in a term of up to 110 years in jail.
Ellison was hit with seven separate charges. Two people said she was involved in and conspiring to conduct wire fraud against FTX clients. Two others claimed she plotted to conduct wire fraud against Alameda Research’s financiers. Commodities fraud conspiracy was count five, while securities fraud conspiracy against FTX’s equity investors was count six. The seventh count said that she was involved in a money laundering conspiracy.
In return for Ellison’s cooperation — the full disclosure of all the information and documents required by prosecutors — the Attorney’s Office agreed not to prosecute her on any of these seven offenses.
This agreement does not shield Ellison from legal action taken by any other governmental entity. In the event that any criminal tax offenses are uncovered throughout the course of the litigation, they will not be prosecuted.
U.S. federal prosecutors have indicated that they would not challenge Ellison’s release on bail, provided that she pays a $250,000 bond, remains in the country, and surrenders all passports and other travel papers.
Meanwhile, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is already in FBI custody and on route back to the United States, where he will be sent straight to the Southern District of New York to stand before a court.