Disgraced Crypto King Sentenced To 25 Years

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was handed a 25-year prison sentence by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on Thursday.

Prosecutors had pushed for a 40- to 50-year term for the fallen crypto tycoon. Bankman-Fried’s defense team intends to challenge both the conviction and the sentencing.

Judge Kaplan remarked that Bankman-Fried exhibited no remorse.

“He was aware it was unlawful,” Kaplan commented on Bankman-Fried before announcing the sentence. “He knew it was criminal. He regrets misjudging the odds of getting caught. But he refuses to confess, as is his prerogative.”

Bankman-Fried’s parents, Barbara and Joseph Bankman-Fried, were in attendance at the courtroom.

Judge Kaplan stated that FTX customers suffered losses of $8 billion, FTX’s equity investors lost $1.7 billion, and lenders to Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research hedge fund suffered $1.3 billion in losses.

“The defendant’s claim that FTX customers and creditors will be fully compensated is deceptive, illogical, and speculative,” Kaplan asserted. “A thief who gambles stolen money in Las Vegas and wins cannot receive a sentence reduction by using his winnings to repay what he stole.”

At 32, Bankman-Fried was convicted in November on two counts of wire fraud and five counts of conspiracy following the collapse of his crypto empire FTX in November 2022, which has drawn parallels to the Enron scandal. The exchange had consolidated assets with sister hedge fund Alameda Research amid financial difficulties, prompting numerous customers to withdraw their funds. Bankman-Fried was indicted the following month.

Addressing his former FTX colleagues, Bankman-Fried told the judge on Thursday, “They invested so much of themselves into it, and I squandered it all. It torments me every day.”

In comparison, disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is serving an 11-year sentence, despite facing up to 80 years in prison. Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years and passed away in prison.

Bankman-Fried, who amassed an estimated $26 billion fortune during the bitcoin surge, is also anticipated to be instructed to provide restitution.

Bitcoin, a significant portion of Bankman-Fried’s wealth, plummeted to as low as $15,000 before rebounding to over $70,000 following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of a bitcoin ETF earlier this year.

The extent to which the crypto resurgence, if any, will contribute to compensating his victims remains uncertain.