The downfallen crypto founder is stuck under house arrest in his parents’ house in Palo Alto, now a “heavily guarded fortress” with a $10,000-a-week security detail, but one person who’s been able to get into the house is Moneyball author Michael Lewis.
On one hand, founder of the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried has a pretty cushy-sounding arrangement in his house arrest in Stanford on federal charges of fraud and money laundering. He’s camped at the home of his Stanford professor parents Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, and according to the Bay Area News Group, is receiving visits from Big Short and Moneyball author Michael Lewis, who’s working on a book and possibly a movie about Bankman-Fried’s rise and fall. On the other hand, he’s apparently also receiving death threats, is forced to wear an ankle monitor, and of course, there’s the inconvenient matter of the possible 115-year prison sentence he’s facing.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on December 12, and was extradited to the U.S. a couple weeks later, but posted a record $250 million bond. That allowed him the house arrest arrangement at his parents’ house in Palo Alto.
A separate Bay Area News Group report describes the property as being in the “tony Upper San Juan neighborhood nestled in the southern part of Stanford University’s campus,” and it’s an area where a number of senior Stanford staff and faculty live. But the area is jacked with law enforcement now that Bankman-Fried is encamped there, with the News Group saying “Sheriff deputies, campus public safety and private security [have] set up barriers throughout the Stanford neighborhood.”
And as the New York Post reports, the neighborhood “has abruptly transformed into a tourist attraction and Instagram magnet,” and that his parents “have turned their posh Stanford home into a heavily guarded fortress.”
The possible Michael Lewis book, which was in the works before Bankman-Fried’s downfall, is not really a book-and-movie deal for Bankman-Fried himself. It’s a Michael Lewis project, and frankly quite a fortunate turn of events for Lewis that all of this happened while the project was in process. The New York Post also adds that “Bankman-Fried’s collaboration with Lewis is said to have been ongoing for around six months, long before financial irregularities were spotted,” but now all the fraud and such has hit the fan, Lewis’s publisher “is pitching the book to potential movie rights buyers,” per the Post.
And while the $250 million bond sounds staggering, it’s not really $250 million. Per the Bay Area News Group, “The amount will have to be paid only if [Bankman-Fried] fails to show up for his court appearances or violates the terms of his home confinement.” The News Group adds that “Bankman-Fried’s parents used equity in their home to help secure part of the bond, while two unnamed co-signers are on the hook for the rest.”
But Bankman-Fried’s parents may have some exposure in all this too, as father Joe Bankman (still listed in the Stanford faculty directory!) worked for FTX in a tax and legal capacity. Unsurprisingly, as the Stanford Daily reports, neither parent will be teaching at Stanford this coming quarter.
Image: NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 22: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan Federal Court after his arraignment and bail hearings on December 22, 2022 in New York City. Bankman-Fried, who was indicted on December 9th and arrested 3 days later by Bahamas law enforcement at the request of U.S. prosecutors, consented to extradition to the U.S. where he is facing eight criminal counts of fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering offenses which includes making illegal political contributions. He is potentially facing life in prison if convicted. He was released on $250 million bond with the bail package requiring him to stay with his parents in California. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)