FTX Sam Bankman-Fried Walked Out of Federal Court on Thursday Essentially a Free Man

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by Chris Black

News outlets all around the globe reported that Bankman-Fried got out of jail by posting a gargantuan, unprecedented “$250 million bond.” 

In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Roos described it as the “largest ever” pretrial bond.

But, as it turns out, there is less than meets the eye in this “$250 million bond.” 

In fact, a lot less.

In the typical federal case, a bail bondsman would charge between 10%-15% of the amount in cash to issue a surety bond or “bail bond.” In the case of Bankman-Fried’s astronomical bond, 15% of $250 million would be $37.5 million. 

But Bankman-Fried did not pay $37.5 million for his bond. No, Bankman-Fried actually paid no cash at all for his “$250 million bond.” 

Nothing. Zero.

There is a second way to acquire a bail bond. A defendant, or someone on their behalf, may pledge collateral in the full amount of the bond. Then, if the defendant fails to appear in court, the pledged collateral is forfeit to the court. 

So, in Bankman-Fried’s case, that would mean he would need a benefactor to step up and pledge property worth $250 million to get the bond.

But that did not happen either.

Instead, Bankman-Fried’s parents promised to pledge as collateral their Palo Alto, California, home, where he’ll also be staying under house arrest. 

The Palo Alto home is rumored to be worth $4 million.

And that is the full extent of the collateral pledged to guarantee the $250 million bond. 

No other collateral was posted or promised.

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