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Prosecutors Want FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Behind Bars for Decades

Reuters/Amanda Perobelli
Reuters/Amanda Perobelli

Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to throw the book at FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, with charging documents revealing Friday they’ve asked for a sentence between 40 to 50 years for the disgraced crypto mogul.

The ask comes months after Bankman-Fried, 31, was found guilty of seven fraud and conspiracy counts—crimes that, under federal guidelines, could have landed him in prison for up to 110 years.

“Justice requires that he receive a prison sentence commensurate with the extraordinary dimensions of his crimes,” prosecutors wrote in a 116-page sentencing memo.

Bankman-Fried’s sentencing hearing is slated for March 28, but he’s been jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since August.

Prosecutors’ requested sentence is a far cry from the six-and-a-half years that Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have advocated for. They’ve argued that prison will be dangerous for their client, in part because of his autism.

First Prison Photo of Sam Bankman-Fried Shows How Far He’s Fallen

Friday’s memo said a decades-long sentence is necessary to ensure others in the crypto world don’t repeat what Bankman-Fried did—especially since his case has attracted such widespread attention.

“This need for deterrence is especially important in the area of cryptocurrency, where some individuals have operated under the misimpression that they are unregulated, not subject to criminal laws, or can avoid scrutiny or significant jail time,” prosecutors wrote.

They also pointed to Bankman-Fried’s privileged upbringing and place in society prior to FTX as reason not to show him leniency, suggesting he had every opportunity to live an affluent life without stealing from those with less than him.

“Bankman-Fried started two companies that could have been successful without fraud,” they added. “Indeed, as he emphasized during trial, FTX earned around a billion dollars a year in transaction fees by users. But the defendant chose to abandon honest work to pursue profit and influence through crime, and he used the proceeds of those crimes to enjoy his own lifestyle of affluence.”

Sam Bankman-Fried Faces ‘Extreme Danger’ in Prison, His Family Says

A total of 29 letters have been penned in support of Bankman-Fried, asking U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan to show leniency when it comes time to sentence him. Among the letter writers are Bankman-Fried’s parents, both Stanford law professors, who claimed their son was unfairly vilified by the press and that he’d face hardship in prison that spans beyond what a typical prisoner would face.

Prosecutors said those letters, which repeatedly said the crimes committed weren’t the “real Sam,” should be irrelevant to his sentencing.

“The fact that the version of the defendant presented at trial is unrecognizable to his family and friends does not mean that the defendant did not willfully engage in enormously damaging conduct,” said prosecutors. “Humans are complicated, and the capacity of one person to be generous while also committing heinous crimes is almost unexplainable.”

Bankman-Fried maintained his innocence throughout his trial, which concluded in November with him being convicted of stealing $8 billion from customers of his cryptocurrency exchange.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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