Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison pleads guilty, faces no criminal charges

Caroline Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research, won’t face any criminal charges for her role in the FTX fiasco. Ellison’s plea agreement with a New York court was unsealed on Dec. 22, showing that she faces only a fine and forfeiture of assets for pleading guilty.

According to the agreement, she won’t be prosecuted if Ellison continues cooperating with the Southern District of New York’s investigation into FTX and Alameda. However, as part of her deal with the SDNY, Ellison will not be allowed to leave the U.S. and will have to forfeit any money or assets she gained from the money stolen from FTX.

She will be permitted a $250,000 bail and must surrender her passport or other travel documents.

However, the court noted that the plea deal doesn’t exempt her from possible tax violations. The court filing said that her testimony against Sam Bankman-Fried and the rest of the FTX and Alameda executives could be used to prosecute her for tax fraud.

Ellison isn’t alone in her cooperation with the authorities. Gary Wang, the co-founder of FTX, is also cooperating with the SDNY in the federal criminal case against Sam Bankman-Fried.

The $250,000 bail both Ellison and Wang received isn’t sitting well with the broader crypto community. However, many noted that the amount was low, given their offenses and the assets they reportedly own.

In comparison, Arthur Hayes, the CEO of BitMEX, was released on a $10 million bail bond last spring. Hayes surrendered to U.S. authorities and pleaded guilty alongside two other executives for failing to maintain AML safeguards on BitMEX and allowing U.S. residents to access the exchange. Hayes was sentenced to six months of house arrest and two years of probation.

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