Bankman-Fried on the hook in Texas, called to appear at Feb. hearing

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been called to a Feb. 2 hearing by the Texan securities regulator as part of an investigation into whether he and FTX US have violated Texas securities laws. 

In a Notice of Hearing signed off by Texas State Securities Board’s (SSB’s) director of enforcement Joe Rotunda and served to Bankman Fried on Nov. 29, the regulator alleges that FTX US offered unregistered securities to Texans through its “EARN” accounts.

The investigation was first announced on Oct. 14, before the dramatic collapse and bankruptcy of FTX’s global operations. The regulator announced at the time it was investigating FTX Trading and FTX US and its principals including Sam Bankman-Fried for offering unregistered securities through its yield-bearing products.

On Nov. 18, Rotunda used Twitter to appeal to the public to reach out to him if they were a previous client of FTX and based in Texas.

In the latest notice, the SSB alleged that Sam Bankman-Fried violated a section of the Securities Act during his role as the then-CEO of FTX.

“Respondent [Sam Bankman-Fried] violated Section 4003.001 of the Securities Act by offering and selling securities in Texas that were not registered or permitted for sale in Texas,” said Rotunda, adding it also didn’t register as a dealer or agent in Texas.

The regulator said it hoped that the hearing will lead to a Cease and Desist order to prevent FTX from “engaging in fraud in connection with the offer or sale of securities in Texas.”

It was also “praying” for the judge to order Bankman-Fried to return money to Texan customers that had invested in its “unregistered EARN accounts.”

The regulator also wants consideration of an “administrative fine” to be issued to Bankman-Fried should he have gained any economic benefit from the securities law violations. This amount wouldn’t exceed $20,000 per violation but could go to $250,000 for every “illegal or fraudulent act” that was perpetrated against Texans over the age of 65.

Rotunda said the hearing will commence at 9am local time on Feb. 2, 2023, and Bankman-Fried can attend the hearing using Zoom.

Related: ‘I never opened the code for FTX’: SBF has long, candid talk with vlogger

Bankman-Fried is understood to currently be in the Bahamas.

In a recently published interview between crypto blogger Tiffany Fong and Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO expressed remorse over his handling of FTX and the bankruptcy filing.

“You don’t get into the situation we got in if you, like, make all the right decisions,” he said in the recently released Nov. 16 interview.

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