Last Updated on December 29, 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), 30, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, who was charged on eight financial fraud-related charges and released on a record $250 million bail, hired private investigator (PI) and former New York Police Department (NYPD) detective, Jimmy Harkins, who was also hired by Ghislaine Maxwell during her 2021 trial.
Harkins was seen by attendees of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse of the SDNY in Manhattan, New York in December 2021.
“Famed” New York bail bondsman, Ira Judelson, said Harkins is “the best at what he does.”
“I’ve known Jimmy for 15 years and we work together all the time. 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,” Judelson said.
“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,” Judelson added.
The $250 million amount paid by Bankman-Fried is 25 times the bail posted by famous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff.
Harkins appeared in the Martin Scorsese film The Irishman, and in The Sopranos prequel The Mainy Saints of Newark as a police officer. Judelson stated that Harkins is his choice of PI in New York.
“One thing about Jimmy is when you hire Jimmy you get Jimmy. A lot of times when you hire different firms they will farm it out to other people but Jimmy, when I get involved in a case with him it’s always him calling me back. That’s hands on,” Judelson said. “I trust him completely.”
Harkins clientele includes former NYPD psychologist Dr. Emily Dearden, who shot her then-husband in order to avoid a “messy” divorce and hide her infidelity, and former NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, who along with former NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, were charged with reception of illegal bribes.
Harkins also helped Michael Coppola, aka Mikey Cigars, a Genovese crime family member, beat a 1997 murder charge in the death of Johnny Lardiere, aka Coca Cola.
Harkins found a dusty guest ledger in the hotel room where the murder happened, which helped prevent Lardiere’s conviction.
Some have criticized the fact that the SDNY allowed Bankman-Fried to be released on bond, including a regular SDNY court reporter.
“The question is this: What message does it send that, if you steal a billion dollars, more, and then set up outside of the country, that to come back you can negotiate and get a bail deal while low-level drug dealers, some of them quite young, are remanded?” Matthew Russell Lee of InnerCityPress asked.
The guilty pleas of former Alameda Research CEO, Caroline Ellison, and former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of FTX, Gary Wang, were unsealed on December 22nd.
On that same day, Bankman-Fried was released conditionally from federal custody in the SDNY on a personal recognizance bond via a lien signed against his parents’ $4 million home in California.