SBF Gets 25 Years: 'My Useful Life Is Probably Over'

Sam Bankman-Fried is sentenced over cryptocurrency fraud
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2024 11:05 AM CDT
Sam Bankman-Fried Gets 25 Years for Crypto Fraud
Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York on Feb. 16, 2023.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Sam Bankman-Fried is going to federal prison for a long time over his fraud conviction in the world of crypto, though not as long as prosecutors wanted. Judge Lewis Kaplan on Thursday sentenced the 32-year-old former wunderkind to 25 years related to the collapse of his FTX crypto exchange, which cost his investors—many of them ordinary folks lured by celeb endorsements—bundles, reports the New York Times.

  • An apology: "A lot of people feel really let down, and they were very let down, and I am sorry about that," Bankman-Fried told the court before sentencing, per CNN. "I am sorry about what happened at every stage. And there are things I should've done and things I shouldn't have."
  • Bleak tone: "My useful life is probably over," said Bankman-Fried. "It's been over for a while now."

  • 'Math nerd': Defense lawyer Marc Mukasey tried to soften his client's image, notes the AP. "Sam was not a ruthless financial serial killer who set out every morning to hurt people," Mukasey told the judge. He "doesn't make decisions with malice in his heart. He makes decisions with math in his head." Mukasey also referred to SBF as an "awkward math nerd" who has been tutoring inmates seeking their GEDs at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York, per CNN.
  • Not buying it: Prosecutors had pushed for a longer sentence, up to 50 years. "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," they wrote in a court filing, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • From the judge: Kaplan said he found that Bankman-Fried committed perjury three times during his trial testimony, including when he claimed to have been unaware that customer funds were being sent to the hedge-fund spinoff Alameda Research. Kaplan also said Bankman-Fried committed witness tampering when he communicated with FTX's former general counsel.
  • The judge, II: Kaplan also called Bankman-Fried "extremely smart" and said he "suffers from autism," per CNN. Bankman-Fried, he added, "is capable of huge accomplishments," but he also has "a way of interacting with people that's unusual and sometimes off-putting." At another point, the judge said: "I am not diminishing the harm. The brazenness of his actions. His exceptional flexibility with the truth. His apparent lack of any remorse."
(More Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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