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Judge sentences FTX founder Sam Bankman to 25 years in prison and an $11 billion fine

The creator of the FTX exchange has just been sentenced to 25 years in prison and $11 billion in fines. The prosecution had asked for a much longer sentence. So what convinced the judge to reach such a verdict?

Date: 2024-03-29 Author: Marek Stiller
Judge sentences FTX founder Sam Bankman to 25 years in prison and an $11 billion fine

Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison and a fine of $11.02 billion, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled Thursday morning in Manhattan federal court.

Kaplan compared Bankman-Fried’s theft of nearly $8 billion in client funds to a “game” in which he compares “the cost of being caught with the probability of not being caught.”

“That was his game,” – Kaplan said. “It’s in his nature.”

Bankman-Fried was convicted on seven counts of fraud in November 2023 after a tumultuous trial in which the FTX founder testified in his own defense.

In Thursday morning’s ruling, Kaplan called Bankman-Fried’s defense “misleading, logically flawed and speculative,” saying he had never seen anything like it in his entire career.

He went on to compare the FTX founder’s defense to “a thief who takes his loot to Las Vegas,” who, according to him, “is entitled to a discount on stolen winnings” once they are recovered. “He knew it was something bad,” Kaplan continued. “He knew it was a crime. He regrets placing a bad bet, risking getting caught – and he won’t admit to anything.

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Bankman-Fried apologizes, but is it just a game?

A visibly slimmer Bankman-Fried was ushered into the courtroom by two bodyguards in a beige jumpsuit, with his hair still tied up in a distinctive curly mop.

“I know that many people feel let down,” Bankman-Fried told the court. “I’m sorry for that. I apologize for everything that happened at every stage.”

He went on to apologize to his FTX colleagues, his brother Gabe and those affected by the stock market’s collapse, saying it “haunts” him every day and causes him “excruciating guilt.” However, he doubled down on his claim that the exchange “always” had enough assets.

Bankman-Fried’s new lawyer, Marc Mukasey, largely tried to move away from his client’s image as a “monster” in favor of a seemingly clumsy math nerd who had good intentions, but ultimately had his flaws as well.

“SBF does not make decisions with malice in his heart,” Mukasey said. “He makes decisions with math in his mind.”

Kaplan said Bankman-Fried wanted “to be an extremely influential figure in this country,” and that his efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies during his tenure as FTX CEO were “a pretense.”

What lies ahead for the FTX founder?

Bankman-Fried was facing a combined maximum sentence of 110 years in prison, with prosecutors insisting on more than 40 years for the former “king of cryptocurrencies.” Meanwhile, the defense demanded a maximum sentence of six years in prison for its client.

Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried to be placed in a medium-security prison without the possibility of seeking parole. He is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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Marek Stiller
Marek Stiller
Founder of the "Cryptocurrency for Beginners" channel on YouTube. He collaborates with Łukasz to form the Arena Trading group, while at the same time being passionate about blockchain technology. His knowledge and experience in the cryptocurrency industry help beginner investors better understand this dynamic market.
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