US prosecutors seek decades in prison for Sam Bankman-Fried

The former FTX boss will attend a sentencing hearing slated for late March

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Sam Bankman-Fried | Getty Images modified by Blockworks

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US prosecutors want former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to face 40 to 50 years in prison, a new court filing revealed Friday.

The former executive is set to face sentencing by Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York later this month. 

The government, in its sentencing memorandum, wrote that Bankman-Fried “was convicted of orchestrating one of the largest financial frauds in history.” Because of his “willful” role, the government’s lawyers said he deserves a “severe sanction, proportionate to his role in this historic fraud.”

However, prosecutors don’t believe that Bankman-Fried should face the guidelines sentence, which would put him behind bars for over 100 years. 

“The Government urges the Court to impose a sentence that underscores the remarkably serious nature of the harm to thousands of victims; prevents the defendant from ever again committing fraud; and sends a powerful signal to others who might be tempted to engage in financial misconduct that the consequences will be severe. A sentence of 40 to 50 years is necessary to serve such purposes,” the filing continues. 

Prosecutors, in the 116-page document, cited several victims who described the severity of losses they faced following the collapse of FTX. They also brought up the institutions that were impacted by the implosion of the former crypto exchange, including BlockFi. Former CEO Zac Prince also testified in front of the court at Bankman-Fried’s November trial.

The filing looks at a few financial crimes convictions, including Bernie Madoffs. Prosecutors argued that a shorter sentence could allow Bankman-Fried to commit fraud again once he’s released. 

“And a shorter sentence because of his age also undermines general deterrence, as it could signal to would be young fraudsters that it is worthwhile to attempt a massive fraud, because either they will get away with it, or the prison sentence will allow them a second chance to make money,” the filing said.

Prosecutors also argued for a money judgment of more than $11 billion, claiming that the sum was “conservative.” The government “has already seized over a billion dollars in assets,” the filing said.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, friends and family argued for a shorter sentence, proposing instead that he be sentenced to between 63 and 78 months in prison.

Read more: Bankman-Fried’s legal team argues for leniency, citing philanthropy and character 

“Sam is not the ‘evil genius’ depicted in the media or the greedy villain described at trial. He is a 31-year-old son, brother, friend, humanitarian and philanthropist,” the defense’s memo argued.


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