First look at the billion-dollar crypto fraud

Sam Bankman-Fried, the mastermind behind the alleged billion-dollar crypto fraud scheme at FTX, may be on his way back to the U.S. as federal authorities question the validity of his bankrupt operation.

Bankman-Fried, whose net worth was listed at $17 billion just 10 days ago, now claims poverty as lawsuits pile up against him and a host of boldface names citing fraud.

Among the celebrities facing civil suits is Tom Brady and his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, whose marriage seems to have blown up around the same time as Bankman-Fried’s alleged Ponzi scheme hit the skids.

Comedian Larry David also faces suit after filming a Super Bowl commercial for FTX.

Bankman-Fried is essentially being charged as the crypto version of Bernie Madoff. He pledged to spend investors money on buying bitcoin and other digital currencies and parlay the profits into fantastic returns for investors.

However, the returns didn’t come through, because as authorities charge, Bankman-Fried used the funds to live the high life. New money coming in would fund the profits of older investors and so it goes.

On Monday I will take a deeper dive into this and how Bankman-Fried funded Democrats in the latest U.S. elections