Which crypto figures might be going to prison in 2024?

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Many in the space monitored Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial, but there are other figures potentially looking at prison time in the future.

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Which crypto figures might be going to prison in 2024?

Some people considered titans of the industry before 2022 are facing criminal charges in the United States. Though no one can be certain what courts will determine as to the future of these crypto leaders, many are looking at potentially spending years in federal prison.

Sam Bankman-Fried

The former CEO of crypto exchange FTX has been in jail since a judge determined that he had been attempting to intimidate a witness in his criminal trial, his former girlfriend and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison. SBF was found guilty of seven felony charges in November after a monthlong trial and is expected to be sentenced in March 2024.

It’s unclear what sentence, if any, a judge will impose on Bankman-Fried in March or whether prosecutors intend to move forward with a second trial for five additional felony counts depending on the outcome. However, many experts suggest that the former FTX CEO will likely face some prison time for his role in fraudulent business practices between the crypto exchange and Alameda.

Changpeng Zhao

Zhao, the former CEO of crypto exchange Binance, pleaded guilty to one felony count in the United States as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with federal authorities and the company. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2024 and faces up to 18 months in prison for violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance. Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself.

Binance is no longer a baby. It is…

— CZ BNB (@cz_binance) November 21, 2023

At the time of publication, CZ was largely free to travel within the United States on a $175 million bond. Lawyers for the former Binance CEO had filed motions with the court requesting he be allowed to travel to Dubai — where his family is based — before sentencing, but these requests were denied.

Alex Mashinsky

U.S. authorities arrested the former CEO of Celsius Network in July following allegations he misled investors and defrauded users out of billions of dollars. A court has ordered Mashinsky’s financial transactions and travel restricted, but he remains free on $40 million bail at the time of publication.

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Mashinsky’s trial, scheduled to begin in September 2024, will mark one of the few public appearances by the former CEO since Celsius filed for bankruptcy in July 2022. Roni Cohen-Pavon, Celsius’ former chief revenue officer, pleaded guilty to four criminal charges in September and could offer testimony at Mashinsky’s trial.

Do Kwon

The co-founder of Terraform Labs, whose whereabouts were largely unknown following the platform’s collapse in 2022, has been in Montenegrin custody since March. His arrest for using falsified travel documents was not directly related to fraud or other allegations with Terra, but pending extradition requests from the United States and his native South Korea could see Kwon facing jail time in either country in 2024.

It’s unclear whether Kwon will be extradited at all at the time of publication, depending on legal proceedings in Montenegro. Should the country grant the United States’ request, the Terra co-founder could be looking at years in prison for charges related to fraud and similar counts in South Korea.

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