Billionaire Joe Lewis, who has connections to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.
Lewis is facing extensive prison time
Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud in a New York courtroom on Wednesday. The billionaire, whose net worth is estimated to be $6.2 billion, faces a $5 million fine and 45 years in prison.“Billionaire Lewis abused inside information he gained through his access to corporate boardrooms to tip off his friends, employees, and romantic interests,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “Now, he will pay the price with a federal conviction, the prospect of time in prison, and the largest financial penalty for insider trading in a decade.”
Parallels between the cases of SBF and Lewis
Lewis previously gained notoriety in the 1990s when he successfully bet on the British pound crashing out of the European exchange rate mechanism. He is currently the principal investor of Tavistock Group, an international private investment organization that counts Bahamian luxury property, the Albany, as part of its portfolio. Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried notably took up residence alongside a handful of FTX employees at the Albany’s $35 million penthouse suite, aptly named the “Orchid.” Lewis himself currently calls the residence home.Many in the crypto community have argued that the FTX founder’s time at the Albany was indicative of a lavish lifestyle paid for using customer funds, with former Head of Engineering for FTX, Nishad Singh, testifying that he was “confused” about the “ostentatious” nature of the luxury property.“I thought about moving out many times,” Singh said while on the stand.Bankman-Fried was formally convicted on seven counts of fraud in November of 2023. He is being held at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and is facing a total of 110 years in prison.
Mark your calendars for March 28th
Lewis was initially arrested for the aforementioned charges in July 2023, where he pleaded not guilty. He was released on $300 million bond after pledging his yacht as well as a private aircraft. Similarly, Bankman-Fried was released on a $250 million bond before being sent back to prison ahead of his trial for attempting to contact a witness.During Wednesday’s hearing, Lewis expressed remorse for his actions.“I am so embarrassed and I apologize to the court for my conduct,” the billionaire said.Both Lewis and Bankman-Fried’s sentencings are scheduled for March 28th in Manhattan federal court.
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