Sam Bankman-Fried: FTX founder sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy

Jury found in November that Bankman-Fried illegally used money from FTX depositors to cover his lavish spending

Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison

Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison
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Former crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday for his role in the 2022 collapse of FTX, once one of the world's most popular platforms for trading digital currency.

Before announcing the sentence, Judge Lewis Kaplan said there was a risk "that this man will be in a position to do something very bad in the future, and it's not a trivial risk".

Mr Kaplan added that Bankman-Fried did not express "a word of remorse for the commission of terrible crimes".

Bankman-Fried was convicted in November of fraud and conspiracy after being accused of stealing $8 billion from customers – a major fall from grace from a year ago, when he and his companies seemed to be riding a crest of success that resulted in a Super Bowl advertisement and celebrity endorsements from stars such as American football quarterback Tom Brady and comedian Larry David.

He was one of the biggest contributors to Democratic candidates and causes ahead of the 2022 US midterm elections.

“A lot of people feel really let down, and they were very let down, and I am sorry about that,” Bankman-Fried said before receiving his sentence. “I am sorry about what happened at every stage. And there are things I should've done and things I shouldn't have.”

A jury found that Bankman-Fried illegally used money from FTX depositors to cover his lavish spending, which authorities said included buying luxury properties in the Caribbean, flying on private jets, making outsize charitable donations and contributions to political candidates and paying bribes to Chinese officials.

Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of 40 to 50 years.

“The defendant victimised tens of thousands of people and companies, across several continents, over a period of multiple years,” prosecutors told the judge.

“He stole money from customers who entrusted it to him; he lied to investors; he sent fabricated documents to lenders; he pumped millions of dollars in illegal donations into our political system; and he bribed foreign officials. Each of these crimes is worthy of a lengthy sentence.”

Bankman-Fried’s legal team as well as his friends and family had urged leniency, saying he is unlikely to reoffend again.

He was worth billions of dollars on paper as the co-founder and chief executive of FTX, which was the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world at one time.

FTX allowed investors to buy dozens of virtual currencies, from Bitcoin to more obscure ones like Shiba Inu Coin.

But the collapse of cryptocurrency prices in 2022 took its toll on FTX and ultimately led to its downfall.

Three other people from Bankman-Fried’s inner circle pleaded guilty to related crimes and testified at his trial. They said that he had directed them to use FTX customer funds to plug losses at his crypto-focused hedge fund, Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried testified in his own defence that he made mistakes, such as not installing a risk management team, but denied he intended to defraud anyone or steal customers' money.

He has vowed to appeal his conviction and sentence.

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Updated: March 29, 2024, 7:02 AM