Former FTX Crypto Chief Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of crypto exchange FTX, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding investors.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York set the sentence today in a hearing in New York Federal Court. He said the long sentence would serve as a deterrent, that Bankman-Fried had lied on the stand during his trial, and that he felt there was a risk of him repeating similar crimes.

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Speaking before the sentence, Bankman-Fried said what happened to FTX customers has “been excruciating to watch.” But, he said, “I don’t think the reasons for that have been properly told.” The 31-year-old said he had made a series of bad decisions and thrown his life away.

In November, the former crypto king was found guilty by a Manhattan jury of seven counts of fraud in a scheme that cost FTX customers over $10 billion. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said then it “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.” Much of the money has been recovered.

Prosecutors had asked for 40-50 years in prison for the 32-year old. Bankman-Fried’s legal team is seeking a maximum of six and half years.

Bernard Madoff was sentenced in 2009 to 150 years for a decades long Ponzi scheme that cost his investors about $20 billion. He died in prison.

Bankman-Fried, who took the witness stand for four days during his trial, said that he never intended to commit fraud or cheat customers. He said FTX’s implosion was due to a sharp decline in the crypto market (which has since recovered). Key testimony that cooked him came from three in his inner circle, including former girlfriend Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, who described how he used customer money from FTX to prop up his hedge fund, Alameda Research.

It was a story that gripped the country. From Bankman-Fried’s privileged upbringing in Stanford by two law school professors, his autism, the company’s dozen young employees who lived in a luxury apartment building in the Bahamas. FTX was based there, having moved from Hong Kong during Covid. Bankman-Fried gave millions to philanthropic causes and was a top donor to mostly Democratic political campaigns and liberal groups. Celebrities and athletes from Tom Brady to Larry David, to Gisele Bündchen, Stephen Curry, Naomi Osaka, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, and Kevin O’Leary endorsed FTX.


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