SBF, Pharma Bro and other record bails in financial crimes history

SBF, Pharma Bro and other record bails in financial crimes history

FTX former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was released on a record $250 million bail paid by his parents and some mysterious individuals whose identities will be revealed by the court in February. Let’s examine how his bail compares to other infamous bail requests for financial crime in the United States.

Sam Bankman-Fried, $250m

SBF, extradited to the US from the Bahamas to face trial on accusations of money laundering, fraud, and election campaign finance violations, was released on a record $250 million bail in late December. It was first said that his bail was paid by his parents, who used their Palo Alto family home as collateral.

However, the crypto community doubted that SBF’s parents, both professors at Stanford Law School, could handle such a bail. Moreover, the former CEO hardly had $100,000 left in his bank accounts. A group of media outlets, including WSJ, filed a petition urging the court to reveal the other individuals who signed the bail. It is expected that the court will announce the guarantors’ names in February.

Michael Milken, $250m

While Bankman-Fried’s $250 million is impressive, it has not been actually paid as FTX’s former CEO who provided his parent’s home as collateral instead. Meanwhile, $250 million bail by Michael Milken was actually paid. Considering inflation, it balloons to a much higher sum in today’s dollars.

Milken was an executive at the investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert. He was charged with racketeering and securities fraud back in 1989. His $250 bail would be worth about $570 million in today’s money โ€” more than double the bail requested from FTX’s former CEO. This fortunate convicted inside trader received a pardon from former president Donald Trump in 2020.

Julius Meinl V, โ‚ฌ100m

Back in 2009, banker Julius Meinl V left a Vienna jail on a โ‚ฌ100 million euro bail, equivalent to $134 million at the time and worth $186 million when accounting for inflation.

Meinl, an heir to the coffee empire founded by his ancestors, was accused of defrauding investors as the chairman of Meinl Bank in 2007 through secretive share buybacks. His bail was the highest ever paid in Austria.

Raj Rajaratnam, $100m

Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam paid a $100 million bail in 2009 on insider trading charges. A judge denied a motion to lower the bail request โ€” meaning that the amount paid would be equivalent to $138.8 million in today’s dollars.

Rajaratnam was convicted of insider trading in 2011. He was found guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud for illegally profiting from non-public information about publicly traded companies. Rajaratnam made more than $75 million in illegal gains through this insider trading scheme.

Dennis Kozlowski, $10m

Dennis Kozlowski โ€” former Tyco International CEO โ€” was asked for a $100 million bond. However, in the end, he only paid $10 million of personal assets in 2002 to avoid jail. The man accused of fraud paid the equivalent of $16.6 million in today’s money.

Kozlowski was convicted in 2005 of securities fraud and grand larceny for looting millions of dollars from the company. He used Tyco funds to finance a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing a $6 million apartment in Manhattan and a $2 million birthday party for his wife on the island of Sardinia.

Martin Shkreli, $5m

Last on this list is Martin Shkreli, known as Pharma Bro, convicted of three counts of securities fraud. Shkreli became famous as one of the United States’ most hated people for acquiring the rights to old drugs only to raise their prices by tens of times.

He paid a $5 million bond to avoid jail for his financial crimes. Still, the bail was soon revoked as he offered to pay $5,000 to anyone who managed to give him an authentic Hillary Clinton hair on social media. The judge said he was “soliciting an assault on another person for $5,000” and ruled that he should be in jail instead.

Many in the cryptocurrency community found it particularly amusing when news spread that Shkreli offered advice to Bankman-Fried on how to survive prison during a recent podcast. Advice included listening to rap music, shaving his head, and informing himself on “criminal culture.”

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