Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison For FTX Fraud Scheme

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried arrives for a bail hearing at Manhattan Federal Court on August 11, 2023 in New York City. Federal prosecutors are asking U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan to revoke Bankman-Fried's bail and to be jailed until his October criminal trial. Bankman-Fried who has pleaded not guilty to multiple conspiracy and fraud charges was accused of witness tampering after the New York Times published a story featuring personal documents of Caroline Ellison, former Alameda Research CEO. Judge Kaplan will also hear arguments on the gag order placed on Bankman-Fried that was placed as part of his bail agreement for the alleged witness tampering.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
11:35 AM -Thursday, March 28, 2024

A Manhattan judge has sentenced disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to 25 years in prison on Thursday. 


During Judge Lewis Kaplan’s ruling, he labeled Bankman-Fried as a “remorseless” scammer obsessed with political power. He also said that Bankman-Fried attempted to “present himself as the good guy,” all in favor of “appropriate regulation of the crypto industry”—but that it was just an “act.”

“He did it because he wanted to be a hugely, hugely political influential person in this country,” Kaplan said, blasting him as “remorseless.”

“He knew it was wrong, he knew it was criminal, he regrets that he made a very bad bet about the likelihood of being caught,” he continued, as Bankman-Fried stood in front of him with his hands clasped tightly.

The ruling comes just five months after he was found guilty of stealing more than $8 billion of funds from customers of his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. 

Bankman-Fried made a statement with an apologetic tone in the courtroom, saying he made a lot of “bad” decisions, but said they were not selfish ones while running FTX and “threw it all away.”

“At the end of the day, I failed everyone that I care about and everything that I care about, too,” he said at the hearing in Manhattan federal court.

“A lot of people feel really let down and I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage,” continued the fallen crypto mogul.

“I made a series of bad decisions, they weren’t selfish decisions, they weren’t selfless decisions. They were bad decisions.”

During the trial, prosecutors sought a prison sentence of 50 years and even 100 years initially. Meanwhile, the FTX founder’s legal team was seeking a maximum sentence of no more than 6.5 years. He was convicted on seven criminal counts in November and has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn ever since. 

When FTX was worth $40 billion at its peak, Bankman-Fried flew around on private jets and lived the high life. He also showered Democrat politicians, whom he believed could be critical assets, with campaign donations. Bankman-Fried even hung out with celebrities at major sporting events.

However, once FTX began to collapse, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and charged for using FTX user funds to help resolve an $8 billion debt at his failing hedge fund Alameda Research. 

Last November, a jury had also found that he looted the accounts of “tens of thousands” of people, according to prosecutors. 

Additionally, the crypto mogul was found guilty of defrauding FTX’s lenders by sending them phony balance sheets and lying to the company’s investors. Prosecutors claimed that he earned around $3 billion gains from these particular schemes. 

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied his bail after finding that he tampered with witnesses, including leaking his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison’s diary to a journalist. During the accusations, Bankman Fried said more than 100 times that he could not recall “details” about the way he conducted his business. 

Additionally, the crypto golden boy gave no indication during his four-day stint on the stand that he felt bad for losing anyone’s money during the FTX downfall. 

“Even now Bankman-Fried refuses to admit what he did was wrong,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing earlier this month. “His life in recent years has been one of unmatched greed and hubris; of ambition and rationalization; and courting risk and gambling repeatedly with other people’s money.”

Meanwhile, three of his former business partners pleaded guilty to their own fraud charges and flipped on him, claiming Bankman-Fried set up a secret system allowing the hedge fund to have “backdoor” access to FTX’s cash.

Furthermore, the feds asked the judge to rule that Bankman-Fried must pay $11 billion in restitution, $8 billion to customers, $1.7 billion to investors and $1.3 billion to lenders. 

Bankman-Fried’s mother told the court said that she is worried about her son being in a prison environment.

“I genuinely fear for Sam’s life in the typical prison environment,” she wrote to the court.

His lawyers argued further that his sentence should be lessened since FTX’s customers and lenders will be able to recoup their losses due to the company’s bankruptcy filing. Additionally, Bankman-Fried has also been hit with a charge of bribing at least one Chinese official $40 million to help unfreeze a trading account that he owned, but the alleged bribery never made it to trial. 

The FTX founder has continued to deny any wrongdoing and plans to appeal his conviction.

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