No-nonsense judge takes over FTX-Bankman-Fried criminal case

United States Courts

A Manhattan federal judge known for swift decisions and a no-nonsense demeanor during three decades of overseeing numerous high-profile cases was assigned Tuesday to Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency case.

The case was relegated to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan after the judge originally assigned recused herself because her husband worked for a law firm that had done work related to Bankman-Fried’s collapsed crypto exchange FTX.

Bankman-Fried, arrested in the Bahamas two weeks ago, was brought to the United States last week to face charges that he cheated investors and looted customer deposits on his FTX trading platform.

On Thursday, he was freed on a $250 million personal recognizance bond to live with his parents in Palo Alto, California, after an electronic monitoring bracelet was attached to him so authorities could track his whereabouts.

Kaplan, 78, who has held senior status in Manhattan federal court for over a decade, was nominated to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
Since then, he has overseen numerous high-profile trials and several cases notable in the financial world, including what authorities had described as the first federal bitcoin securities fraud prosecution. Kaplan sentenced the defendant to 18 months in prison.

n 2014, he blocked U.S. courts from being used to collect a $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron for rainforest damage, saying lawyers in the case had poisoned an honorable quest with illegal and wrongful conduct.

And in 2012, he delayed his acceptance of a guilty plea by a Utah banker, ordering prosecutors to explain in writing why they were letting the banker plead guilty to a misdemeanor bank gambling charge rather than a felony.


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USCIS to Continue Implementing New Policy Memorandum on Notices to Appear

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is continuing to implement the June 28, 2018, Policy Memorandum (PM), Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens (PDF, 140 KB).

USCIS may issue NTAs as described below based on denials of I-914/I-914A, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status; I-918/I-918A, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status; I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions); I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions when the beneficiary is present in the US; I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with the underlying form types listed above).

If applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners who are denied are no longer in a period of authorized stay and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will continue to send denial letters for these applications and petitions to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.