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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Receives 25 Year Prison Sentence 

Updated: May 6

As reported by CoinDesk, Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy that led to the downfall of his once-giant cryptocurrency exchange. As he prepared to deliver the sentence, Judge Lewis Kaplan said Bankman-Fried never offered "a word of remorse for commission of terrible crimes." Kaplan stated Bankman-Fried's attempt to create a positive and compassionate persona in the public’s view was, at least in part, "an act." He rejected the defense's argument that Bankman-Fried was not at risk of committing future crimes. "Mr. Bankman-Fried's name is pretty much mud right now around the world," but he is "persistent" and "a great marketing guy," said the judge while explaining why the FTX CEO deserved a lengthy sentence.

The former CEO was also fined $11 billion, including forfeiture agreements to sell assets such as a private jet. The sentence comes a year after FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried's conviction on seven criminal counts in November.

During the hearing, prosecutors, Bankman-Fried's attorney, a victim, a lawyer who spoke on behalf of other FTX victims, and Bankman-Fried himself delivered comments. Bankman-Fried's attorney referred to his client's autism and social awkwardness, claiming that he made decisions with "math in his head" rather than malice in his heart.

He referred to his client as a "beautiful puzzle" with "a tireless work ethic and a completely off the chart, mind-blowing intellect" while asking the judge to not destroy the prime of his client’s life.

“Don’t deprive him of the opportunity to meet a partner and have a baby,” Mukasey told the court.

When it was his turn to speak, Bankman-Fried said he was more concerned with the FTX customers waiting for their money to be returned than his “emotional life” or “hypothetical future kids.”

Despite the defense's arguments, Judge Kaplan believed that Bankman-Fried deserved a lengthy sentence to prevent him from committing fraud again and to send a message to others who may be tempted to engage in financial crimes. The harm caused to victims, who lost their life savings overnight, was extraordinary, according to Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. 

Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

"Today's sentence will prevent the defendant from ever again committing fraud and is an important message to others who might be tempted to engage in financial crimes that justice will be swift, and the consequences will be severe," Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement on social media platform X.

"The scale of his crimes is measured not just by the amount of money that was stolen, but by the extraordinary harm caused to victims, who in some cases had their life savings wiped out overnight."

Bankman-Fried extended compliments to three of his former friends – and key government witnesses – Nishad Singh, Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, expressing regret for his lead role in FTX's collapse. “I’m sorry about what happened at every stage…at the end of the day, I failed everyone I cared about,” Bankman-Fried said, adding, "I was responsible."

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