SBF, Facing 25 Years, Begins Appeal

Process could take years to play out
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2024 2:35 PM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2024 4:25 PM CDT
SBF, at 32, Is Likely Behind Bars Until Age 51
In this courtroom sketch, Sam Bankman-Fried sits during his sentencing in Manhattan federal court.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
UPDATE Apr 11, 2024 4:25 PM CDT

Sam Bankman-Fried filed a notice of appeal on Thursday, beginning his effort to fight his fraud convictions and the accompanying 25-year prison sentence he received two weeks ago. The case will be heard by a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit US Court of Appeals in Manhattan, CNBC reports. The grounds on which the FTX founder's appeal will be argued were not revealed, and the lawyer who filed it did not immediately comment. The case could take years, per the Guardian.

Mar 28, 2024 2:35 PM CDT

The only consolation for Sam Bankman-Fried is that Thursday's sentence of 25 years for defrauding his crypto customers could have been more than four times worse. Judge Lewis Kaplan settled for 25, even though he could have gone up to 110, notes the Verge. A sampling of coverage in the aftermath:

  • See you at 51: A post at Decrypt notes that Bankman-Fried is going to federal prison and thus has limited parole options. He will get an automatic 15% reduction because his sentence is more than a year, time that could be added back if he gets into trouble. He might be able to shave off another year or two max with good behavior, meaning that the 32-year-old will likely be behind bars until at least age 51.

  • Little reaction: Bankman-Fried showed little reaction as the sentence was handed down, reports the New York Times. His parents sat nearby "staring at the floor." Meanwhile, SBF's lawyer reiterated Thursday that he will appeal, per the Guardian.
  • Too soft: At Newsweek, Aron Solomon argues that Bankman-Fried should have gotten more than a century behind bars because of the precedent in play. The sentence "sends no message to anyone else cooking up their own grand scheme to not only become a billionaire but to become the richest person in the world," writes Solomon, who adds that we've become "desensitized" to people like SBF setting their own rules.
  • About right: But in counterpoint to the argument above, Daniel Kuhn writes at CoinDesk that "robbing SBF of his entire life for a non-violent crime would have been unconscionable." Yes, he's guilty, and his request to get about 6 years was laughable. But Bankman-Fried deserves the right to redeem himself with a life after prison, writes Kuhn. "Crypto fans should hope that SBF is reformed and feels remorse in time, in the same way the industry itself should work to rid itself of fraud."
(More Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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