“Effective Altruism”: Could SBF’s Parents Be the Key to a Plea? By Jonathan Turley

All the political friends SBF thought he was buying with his donations are now scattering like cockroaches in a dirty kitchen when the light goes on. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the New York Post on the potential liability of the parents of Sam Bankman-Fried. It is not uncommon for federal prosecutors to go after family members to induce a plea by a defendant. In this case, the reported involvement of the parents in some of operations or payments magnifies that risk.

Here is the column:

As Sam Bankman-Fried faces an eight-count indictment for his alleged massive crypto-fraud, his case could take a sudden turn toward resolution. The prosecutors may have the ultimate inducement for a plea to dangle over Bankman-Fried — actually two: Bankman and Fried.

SBF, as he’s known, is not the only person at risk here, particularly with prosecutors making repeated references to unnamed “co-conspirators.” Two at risk could prove his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried. While there’s no proof of criminal acts on their part, Bankman-Fried surprisingly involved his parents in aspects of his alleged fraudulent operation.

If so, the case could bring new meaning to the doctrine of in loco parentis, when people act “in place of a parent” or “instead of a parent.” Federal prosecutors are notorious for targeting family members as a quarry’s vulnerability; do they see such an opening in Bankman-Fried’s parents’ role in litigating this massive alleged fraud?

Both parents of SBF and his close associate and ex-girlfriend, Alameda Research head Caroline Ellison, 28, are professors at leading universities. Ellison’s parents are Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors; Bankman-Fried’s parents are Stanford Law professors. Both children are obviously bright, precocious “fac brats” who spoke of using investments for good deeds. Ellison has said she had only one job before moving over to Alameda and finding herself making huge decisions.

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