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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years for crypto fraud

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Sam Bankman-Fried's family on sentencing: We are heartbroken and will continue to fight for our son

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday for the massive fraud and conspiracy that doomed his cryptocurrency exchange and a related hedge fund, Alameda Research.

The sentence in Manhattan federal court was significantly less than the 40 to 50 years in prison that federal prosecutors wanted for Bankman-Fried, but it was much more than the five to six-and-a-half years suggested by his attorneys.

“There is a risk that this man will be in position to do something very bad in the future,” Judge Lewis Kaplan said before sentencing the 32-year-old and ordering him to pay $11 billion in forfeiture to the U.S. government.

“And it’s not a trivial risk at all,” Kaplan added.

Kaplan noted he has never heard “a word of remorse for the commission of terrible crimes” from Bankman-Fried.

The judge said that in the 30 years on the federal bench, he had “never seen a performance” like Bankman-Fried’s trial testimony.

If Bankman-Fried was not “outright lying” during cross-examination by prosecutors, he was “evasive,” Kaplan said.

In this courtroom sketch, FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried stands before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan as he is sentenced to 25 years in prison, at federal court in New York City on March 28, 2024.

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

“There is absolutely no doubt that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s name right now is pretty much mud around the world,” the judge said.

Jurors at trial likewise did not buy Bankman-Fried’s version of events, convicting him in November of seven criminal counts and holding him responsible for losing about $10 billion in customer money due to the securities fraud conspiracy.

Prosecutors said Bankman-Fried led a conspiracy to loot customer money to make investments, fund political donations to both Democrats and Republicans and for his personal use, as well as to repay loans taken out by Alameda Research.

Before being sentenced, Bankman-Fried spoke contritely even as he suggested that the billions of dollars customers lost was the result of a “liquidity crisis” or “mismanagement,” not fraud.

“A lot of people feel really let down. And they were very let down,” he said. “And I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage.”

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the U.S. courthouse in New York City on July 26, 2023.

Amr Alfiky | Reuters

“My useful life is probably over,” he said while wearing a beige jailhouse jumpsuit. “It’s been over for a while now since before my arrest.”

“They built something really beautiful and I threw all of that away,” he said of his co-workers at FTX, a company once valued at $32 billion. “It haunts me every day.”

“It’s been excruciating to watch this all unfold,” he told Kaplan. “Customers don’t deserve this level of pain.”

“I was the CEO of FTX and I was responsible.”

But even as he took some responsibility, Bankman-Fried suggested that customers eventually would get back the money they placed with his exchange, and blamed a federal bankruptcy court…

Read More: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years for crypto fraud

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