How CNBC’s Kevin O’Leary Fell Prey to Crypto Scam FTX’s Groupthink

By Evan Spicer

Director of Cryptocurrency Investigations

The story of the rise and fall of crypto scam FTX includes a pivotal player – a former crypto skeptic and respected institutional investor Kevin O’Leary. O’Leary was not just any ordinary crypto skeptic. He then became a crypto believer and an FTX spokesman. He has lost up to $15 million in the FTX collapse. 

A host on CNBC’s Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary, bears the nickname “Mr. Wonderful.” He is a famous Canadian entrepreneur, institutional investor and television personality. O’Leary is an unlikely crypto scam victim, having called cryptocurrency “garbage” on CNBC in 2017. 

How Sophisticated Investors Were Lured into Crypto Scam FTX

When asked how he went from seeing a crypto fraud around every corner to becoming an enthusiastic FTX spokesman just a few years later, O’Leary replied that it seemed to him that cryptocurrency’s time had definitely arrived. 

In 2017, explained O’Leary, anything could be a cryptocurrency. There didn’t seem to be any underlying value and “the regulatory climate wasn’t good.”

However, once the Canadian government began regulating some crypto currencies and when certain coins were backed with fiat currency, O’Leary became interested in investing and less worried about crypto scams. 

FTX head Sam Bankman-Fried offered O’Leary a $15 million deal to become a spokesman for FTX. He made confident claims and allayed fears that FTX might be a crypto fraud. O’Leary claimed that FTX met “rigorous standards of compliance” and had “some of the best crypto offerings I’ve seen on the market.” 

Institutional Investors with Stakes in Crypto Scam FTX Now “Look Like Idiots”

After the collapse of the crypto scam FTX, O’Leary admitted that he has probably lost the entire $15 million, although all of the data has been scraped and there will need to be an investigation to identify the amount of losses. He feels certain that at least the $9 million he held in cryptocurrency on FTX is gone. 

O’Leary did want to clarify that he had no involvement in crypto fraud. “Not a single dollar I lost was anyone else’s money.”  He admitted that he and the other high-level institutional investors involved in the FTX crypto scam “look like idiots…we relied on each other’s due diligence.” 

O’Leary cited another reason so many institutional investors fell for the notorious crypto fraud: they trusted Sam Bankman-Fried because he was from the U.S. “He is an American and his parents are American compliance lawyers.” Never mind that Bankman-Fried ran his crypto scam FTX from the Bahamas, probably to take advantage of looser regulations.

When confronted with the question of why O’Leary didn’t suspect FTX was a crypto fraud when it didn’t have a CFO, O’Leary denied that this position was empty and then rationalized the ambiguity by saying, “This was a nascent industry with a disrupter in the helm creating positions that didn’t have traditional names.” 

Apparently, FTX, like many other crypto scams, hid behind the “cutting edge” veneer to explain why it wasn’t operating like a legitimate company. 

Is Scam Recovery from FTX or Binance Possible? 

O’Leary says his next priority is scam recovery and that he’s going to try to trace his stolen funds. What many crypto scam victims don’t know is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to pursue scam recovery on their own. However, O’Leary will testify at any eventual Bankman-Fried trial, which should be helpful for crypto scam FTX victims. 

Kevin O’Leary’s story is a cautionary tale that even sophisticated institutional investors can fall prey to crypto scam groupthink. There is no reason to be ashamed if you lose money to a crypto scam. 

Instead, get started on scam recovery as soon as possible and enlist the help of MyChargeBack experts. With help from our crypto investigation reports, you can track down your funds and bolster your claim. 

Have You Lost Money to Crypto Scam FTX? Talk to MyChargeBack Professionals Today

If you have lost money to financial fraud, talk to the MyChargeBack team. Our investigations will provide evidence to bolster your claim. Our crypto investigation reports are essential for tracking down your funds on the blockchain and getting your started on the road to fund recovery.