Disgraced crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried was just the latest young tech entrepreneur to be given the royal treatment by the media right up until the end.
Some stories are too good to check, as they say.
THE MAGAZINE COVERS
AUGUST 2022: “The Next Warren Buffett?”
(Fortune Media Group Holdings)
November 2022: Sam Bankman-Fried — a 3o-year-old mega-donor to Democratic candidates and various progressive causes — earlier this month resigned as CEO of FTX after the cryptocurrency platform he founded declared bankruptcy.
- FTX is under investigation for possible securities violations, and at least $1 billion in client funds are missing, Reuters reported last week.
SEPTEMBER 2021: “The Best Interviewer on TV”
May 2022: Ozy Media co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson, 53, dodged an investor’s fraud suit in May over the implosion of his millennial media company amid revelations of fake audience numbers and a bizarre case of executive impersonation.
- The Silicon Valley-based company raised more than $70 million, according to Crunchbase.com.
OCTOBER 2015: “The Next Steve Jobs”
(Mansueto Ventures LLC)
November 2022: Elizabeth Holmes, 38, was sentenced Friday to more than 11 years in prison for fraud after the collapse of Theranos, a President Bill Clinton-endorsed biomedical tech company that was once valued at up to $10 billion and counted the likes of Henry Kissinger among its board members.
MAY 2015: “Your New Landlord”
September 2019: WeWork founder and CEO Adam Neumann, 43, was forced out after the company crumpled in a disastrous stock market debut, ultimately wiping out 95% of its value, once estimated at $47 billion.
- But Neumann still walked off with a cool $1.7 billion buyout.
BONUS: JULY 2014: “The College Dropout Behind NYC’s Most Exclusive Credit Card”
(NYP Holdings, Inc.)
March 2018: Billy McFarland, 30, was arrested for his role in organizing the star-studded Fyre Festival, one of several fake luxury ventures for which he raised $27.4 million in total.
- McFarland — who may have peaked too fast to earn a major magazine cover — pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and served four years of a six year federal prison sentence.
Bankman-Fried effectively admitted to a Vox reporter last week that he had posed as a progressive philanthropist and a supporter of crypto regulations to trick the media.
- Still, the reporter stuck with the narrative that Bankman-Fried had just been in over his head, writing, “Why didn’t Bankman-Fried realize what was happening until it was too late?”