Embattled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried made a last-ditch effort to beat federal fraud charges by hiring a top private investigator who’s worked with several high-profile clients, including socialite-turned-convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.
Bankman-Fried, 30, faces up to 115 years in prison after being accused of using his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange as his personal “piggy bank” to purchase extravagant multimillion-dollar properties and to fund political donations.
He was arrested in the Bahamas earlier this month and later extracted to the U.S., where he was freed on $250 million bail despite claiming he only had $100k to his name.
When he left the courthouse on December 22, Bankman-Fried was escorted out by none other than ex-NYPD detective-turned-private investigator Jimmy Harkins. He is known for being a “hound dog,” with friends pointing out he gets what he wants because he’s so relentless.
Bankman-Fried isn’t the only high-profile client that has hired Harkins to help dig up dirt and help them fight their legal battles. According to Daily Mail, he’s also worked for Calvin Klein, John Gotti Jr., and Maxwell.
The disgraced FTX founder didn’t just hire Harkins on a whim. One of Maxwell’s lawyers, Christian Everdell, is on Bankman-Fried’s legal team.
Harkins’ reputation is unbeatable.
“I’ve known Jimmy for 15 years and we work together all the time,” New York bail bondsman Ira Judelson told the outlet. “He’s a real hound dog. There’s attorneys out there that do some kind of plea deals and some who do trial work. Jimmy does both. He’s out there, he’s a real dog.
“He has a tremendous amount of resources, he’s very connected with ex-law enforcement and serving law enforcement. He’s very highly respected plus he’s a street guy who can get people on the street to talk to him.”
Besides working with high-profile clients, Harkins has also made a splash in Hollywood, even playing a cop in Martin Scorcese’s film The Irishman.
Bankman-Fried could use all the help he can get. He’s currently facing charges of wire fraud on customers and lenders, conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, one count of money laundering, one count related to campaign finance laws.