Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wym., discusses Congress getting involved in the rail union debacle, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s remarks at the NY Times Dealbook Summit and the ‘Responsible Financial Innovation Act.’
Disgraced crypto boss Sam Bankman-Fried was slammed for clearly participating in "fraud" a day after denying "improper use" of FTX customer funds and declaring he's "pretty embarrassed" by his mistakes.
"I think that these were well-educated, sophisticated fraudsters. I think it’s obviously fraud," Sen. Cynthia Lummis said on FOX Business' "Mornings with Maria," adding that "the Justice Department needs to get involved."
The FTX founder claimed that the failure of his company was a "mistake" and that he "underestimated" the speed at which it could all fall apart in a widely publicized interview hosted by The New York Times. FTX’s bankruptcy has rattled cryptocurrency markets and vaporized billions of dollars in investor money.
But Lummis rejected Bankman-Fried’s claims of ignorance.
"This was just pure and simple, good old-fashioned fraud," she said.
Chamber of Digital Commerce founder and CEO Perianne Boring discusses the latest news emerging from the historic collapse of cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX on ‘Mornings with Maria.’
Bankman-Fried, however, has directly denied fraud accusations, telling CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin that "I did not ever try to commit fraud on anyone."
When Bartiromo asked whether Bankman-Fried was avoiding arrest because of his ties to the Democratic Party, Lummis responded by saying that it seemed like the FTX founder was receiving a "kid glove treatment for someone who had mesmerized the public."
Bankman-Fried has also come under fire for living a "lavish" lifestyle in the Bahamas and enjoying a $40 million penthouse before his crypto empire disintegrated.
A view of the penthouse at The Albany in Nassau, Bahamas which belongs to Sam Bankman-Fried. (AJ Skuy for Fox News Digital / Fox News)
Lummis believes another explanation for Bankman-Fried’s base in the Bahamas is more fraud.
"There’s a reason that they offshored most of these companies," she said. They wanted to "obfuscate what they were doing. And what they were doing was re-hypothecating, meaning lending over and over again the same monies, and using consumer funds to do their equity investing, their political contributions."
Bankman-Fried famously engaged in a form of investing called "effective altruism" and told the media that he planned on giving most of his wealth away to make the world a better place. The co-founder of Palantir accused Bankman-Fried of hiding behind a "virtue signaling glow" to protect himself and his company from scrutiny and win over investors.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis called out Bankman-Fried for committing “fraud” on “Mornings with Maria” after he spoke out for the first time on the scandal. (Getty Images)
Bankman-Fried's interview with the New York Times at the DealBook Summit is just one of many media hits in an ongoing PR blitz to defend his reputation. He also appeared on "Good Morning America" and has conducted interviews with YouTubers like Tiffany Fong.
Bankman-Fried is reportedly under investigation by the Dept. of Justice and is expected to testify before congressional committees in the weeks ahead.
FOX Business’ Eric Revell, Michael Ruiz, Jon Michael Raasch, Thomas Catenacci and Houston Keene contributed to this report.