Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for FTX Fraud

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced disgraced crypto CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to 25 years in prison.

Bankman-Fried — the once high-flying “crypto king” who hobnobbed with the rich and powerful — was convicted in November of stealing billions from customers of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange and defrauding investors and lenders in his investment firm, Alameda Research.

Now 32, the one-time billionaire and big political donor returned to court to on Thursday to learn his fate.

Bankman-Fried, standing with his hands clasped, told the judge before sentencing Thursday that he was haunted every day by what he had thrown away. “I was responsible for FTX, and its collapse is on me,” he said during a 20-minute statement, The Wall Street Journal reported. A lot of people were let down, he said, adding, “I’m sorry about that.”

Prior to the hearing, prosecutors pointed to SBF’s age in asking U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan to throw the book at Bankman-Fried by giving him a sentence of 40-to-50 years in prison.

“There is a significant likelihood that if the defendant is released back into society at a young enough age he will have the opportunity to engage in another fraud,” prosecutors said in a court filing.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams accused SBF of masterminding “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” CNBC reported.

The seven criminal counts Bankman-Fried was convicted of carry a maximum sentence of 110 years.

SBF’s sentence puts him behind master swindler Bernie Madoff in the annals of white collar fraud sentences. Madoff died in prison in 2021 while serving a 150-year sentence.

But it places him with other financial scoundrels, like former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers and former Tyco International CEO Dennis Koslowski, who were both also hit with 25-year sentences after their convictions, The Journal noted.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers sought a sentence of between five and a half and six and a half years, also pointing to his youth. They argued that he is young enough to offer something positive to society on the other side of his time behind bars, pointing to his autism, his deep remorse and his charitable works as reasons for a lenient sentence, The Journal reported.

They also argued that customers, lenders and investors would get back the money they lost, a claim that many who lost out since FTX imploded say has not yet happened.

Marc Mukasey, his lawyer, told the judge that Bankman-Fried wasn’t a “ruthless financial serial killer” who sought to hurt people.

“Sam Bankman-Fried does not make decisions with malice in his heart,” Mukasey said in court, according to the Journal. “He makes decisions with math in his head.”

Bankman-Fried has said he plans to appeal his his conviction.

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