Sam Bankman-Fried Asks Court for 6.5 Years Prison Sentence

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by Chimamanda U. Martha · 3 min read
Sam Bankman-Fried Asks Court for 6.5 Years Prison Sentence
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The defense team presented several letters from Bankman-Fried’s friends and family, all advocating for a lenient sentence.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the disgraced founder and former CEO of the defunct crypto exchange FTX, is seeking a prison sentence of 63 to 78 months, approximately 6.5 years, according to a court filing.

SBF, who is due to be sentenced next month, filed a motion through his legal team at the US District Court of Southern New York, asking the judge for a fair sentence.  Initially, the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) suggested that the FTX founder could be in jail for up to 100 years.

 A Sociopath and Shameless Liar

In their argument, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers appealed to the court to grant the request for a just prison term, citing his background as a 31-year-old, first-time, non-violent offender. The lawyers claimed that he was not the sole participant in the fraudulent activities and that victims are expected to fully recover their losses.

Despite being described as a “sociopath”, “an ice-cold manipulator”, “bully”, and “shameless liar”, the disgraced FTX founder is portrayed by his lawyers as someone “dedicated to doing good in the world”. They emphasized that those who know him describe him as selfless, altruistic, and genuinely concerned for those less fortunate around the world.

For these reasons, the attorneys suggested an adjusted offense level based on “zero loss”, which would result in a lower advisory Guidelines range. They argued that a longer sentence could jeopardize SBF’s ability to reintegrate into society after release.

“A sentence of decades-long duration would end Sam’s ability to lead a meaningful life and contribute to the neediest in society,” the filing reads.

SBF’s Friends Advocates for Fair Sentencing

The defense team also presented several letters from Bankman-Fried’s friends and family, all advocating for a lenient sentence. One notable letter came from Carmine Simpson, a fellow inmate, who highlighted the challenges Bankman-Fried might face in prison, including being a target for hazing, harassment, and assault due to his high-profile case and former wealth, which have led to multiple extortion attempts.

Additionally, a letter from Jamie Forrest, PhD, the Executive Advisor to Purpose Africa, was submitted. Purpose Africa is a project of Purpose Life Sciences that focuses on strengthening African health systems through public health and clinical research.  The letter attested to SBF’s character and involvement in philanthropic endeavors.

A Barbaric Proposal

The defense team called the PSR’s recommendation of up to 100 years in prison “grotesque,” arguing that such a sentence should be reserved for offenders who committed crimes such as murder.

“Sam is a 31-year-old, first-time, non-violent offender, who was joined in the conduct at issue by at least four other culpable individuals, in a matter where victims are poised to recover – were always poised to recover – a hundred cents on the dollar. A hundred-year sentence should be reserved for the kind of heinous conduct this Court confronted in United States v. El-Hage,” reads the filing.

They also disputed the PSR’s estimation of losses in the bankruptcy, stating that $10 billion is an unreasonable figure. They asserted that Bankman-Fried’s actions were not driven by greed or a desire for status, urging the court to reject the PSR’s suggestion, calling it a barbaric proposal.

SBF, once hailed as the crypto white knight during the 2022 market winter, was convicted of fraud and other criminal activities last year for commingling customers’ funds. Prosecutors described the heist as “one of the biggest financial frauds in the history of the United States”.

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