- Sam Bankman-Fried has made a media apology tour following the collapse of his cryptocurrency company.
- Convicted fraudster Anna Sorokin (aka Anna Delvey) believes he is “just trying to save himself”.
- “It’s a Ponzi scheme, what he did,” she told Insider.
Convicted fraudster Anna Sorokin thinks Sam Bankman-Fried’s media apology round is insincere rubbish, she told Insider, believing he’s trying to lay the groundwork for a legal defense over his role in the collapse of FTX and the evaporation of billions of dollars.
“He’s just trying to save himself,” she told Insider Thursday. “That would be his defense if he were to be prosecuted: ‘I didn’t know Alameda was so indebted’—a crazy claim—that it was his girlfriend’s fault. You can already see the seeds of that.”
Sorokin herself was convicted in 2019 of $200,000 bank and hotel defraud — an epic that was later adapted into the Netflix limited series “Inventing Anna.” Under the pseudonym “Anna Delphi”, she presented herself as a wealthy heiress and sought funds to build a project called the Anna Delphi Foundation.
Bankman-Fried is also fighting charges of fraud – on a much larger scale.
His cryptocurrency exchange FTX collapsed in November amid reports of money mixing with Alameda Research, a separate investment firm he owned and which was run by Caroline Ellison, who he said was also a former romantic partner. Many federal agencies review his actions, which can result in a civil application or criminal charges.
Since then, Bankman-Fried has gone on a media apology tour, claiming that he thought he could have avoided FTX’s troubles had he only focused on risk management and that he could have saved the stock from crashing if he had more time to find investors. He said he was giving media interviews against the advice of his lawyer.
Other FTX executives didn’t seem to share his optimism. One of the company’s top lawyers during the crash said Bankman-Fried’s plan to save the stock exchange by backing more investments had a “0% probability of success,” The New York Times reported. Days later, John Jay Ray III, the corporate transformation executive who took over as CEO of FTX after Bankman-Fried’s resignation, was upset about the state of the company.
“Never in my professional life have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such complete absence of trustworthy financial information as here,” Ray wrote in the company’s bankruptcy filing.
Sorokin believes Bankman-Fried’s pleas to the media are insincere.
“It’s a Ponzi scheme, what he did,” she told Insider.
“He’s just looking for pity.”
Through his media interviews, Bankman-Fried is trying to cement a more innocent image in the public eye, Sorokin speculated. She doesn’t buy it.
“If he were a female, he would be portrayed as a total fraud or totally inappropriate and indecent, or both at the same time,” she said. “Now he can play this serious, awkward, non-threatening, seemingly well-intentioned fellow trying to make it right with the agents.”
She believes that Bankman-Fried never expected it to be in the position it is in now, and would have continued with its alleged plan had Changpeng Zhao, CEO and co-founder of Binance, not started issuing the cryptocurrency to “run the bank” on FTX.
“He never expected it to explode like this,” she said. “It’s only because of Czechoslovakia.”
Sorokin also questions Bankman-Fried’s claim that he only had $100,000 left. She doesn’t think it would be enough to cover his regular expenses, let alone make sense for someone who has poured millions into political advocacy groups.
“I don’t buy that he just had cryptocurrency,” she said. “It’s not widely accepted to be able to get one through the ordinary expenses of life. He’s just looking for pity.” “I’m sure all PACs were accepting fiat currencies, not cryptocurrency. He couldn’t have lived entirely off the company’s money.”
Neither Bankman Fried nor his attorneys immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment.
Sorokin completed her prison term in 2021 and paid back all the banks and other institutions she received from the money she received from Netflix, but is appealing her criminal conviction anyway. During her trial, her attorney said her actions should be understood as civil disputes, not criminal. She may have been in over her head, the lawyer argued, but she had always intended to pay every cent.
She is currently under house arrest in midtown Manhattan while appeals regarding possible deportation to Germany are processed.
Similar to Bankman-Fried, it maintained that its original plans were honest and legitimate. Her lawyer argued at trial that the main reason the Anna Delphi Foundation had not succeeded was that she did not have the managerial skills — not that she was trying to steal.
But the difference between their statuses lies in the billions of dollars. Sorokin acknowledged that Bankman-Fried’s account that he was blindsided, rather than intentionally assaulting FTX agents, may be legitimate. But it does not give her rest.
“I don’t know which was worse—that he was actually not in control, or whether he was trying to cover it up now. It’s scary if he’s so careless.”
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