SBF’s ambitions went too far, judge says when handing down 25-year sentence 

Judge Kaplan said that Bankman-Fried, although “exceptionally ambitious,” was ultimately a reckless gambler


Sam Bankman-Fried | Getty Images modified by Blockworks


In his parting words to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried on Thursday, the judge overseeing his criminal case said the former darling of the cryptocurrency industry, although “exceptionally ambitious,” was ultimately a reckless gambler. 

Bankman-Fried is “a man willing to flip a coin as to the continued existence of life and civilization on Earth if the chances were imperceptibly greater that it would come out without that catastrophic outcome,” Judge Lewis Kaplan said during Bankman-Fried’s sentencing hearing.  

Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried to 25 years in prison, a sentence that falls between the defense’s requested 6.5 years and the government’s proposed 40 to 50 years. Bankman-Fried was also ordered to pay a $11 billion forfeiture. 

Kaplan’s comments followed what may have been Bankman-Fried’s final statement in open court, unless his case moves forward in the appellate process, which his team said they will pursue. 

Read more: Given one more chance to defend himself, SBF blew it 

In a meandering address that lasted 15 minutes, Bankman-Fried hailed his former employees, who he ultimately “failed.” 

“They all built something really beautiful,” Bankman-Fried said. “They threw themselves into it. And then I threw all of that away. It haunts me every day.”

The hearing, which lasted just over two hours, included statements from FTX victim and self-proclaimed “creditor champion” Sunil Kavuri, and Adam Moskowitz, the attorney heading up the FTX class action lawsuit. 

Kavuri used the majority of his time to criticize Sullivan & Cromwell, the firm representing FTX in its bankruptcy proceedings. Victims should be compensated with gains earned on their stolen funds, Kavuri said. 

Read more: FTX users ask court to reject repayment plan based on Nov. 2022 values 

“I appreciate the points you’re making, but I’m here to sentence Mr. Bankman-Fried, not assess what the bankruptcy [estate] should or shouldn’t have done,” Kaplan told Kavuri. 

“I think it would be helpful if you could bring your remarks to a close,” Kaplan added several minutes later after Kavuri once again drifted off topic. 

Kavuri was just one of more than 115 victims that wrote impact statements to the court, making up nearly half of the 1,929 pages of sentence-related submissions to the court. 

Read more: FTX CEO says former exchange faces $9B in government claims

Moskowitz kept his remarks brief. He told the court that Bankman-Fried “has been very helpful” to the class action team. 

“There should be some consideration for that,” Moskowitz said. “I can’t tell you how much or I can’t tell you what, but I do like the fact that people know if they help the class action find recovery, there may be something in it for them.” 

Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, who were present throughout the trial last fall, appeared sullen on Thursday. While the two looked away during much of the hearing and held their heads down when Kaplan handed down the sentence, they watched Bankman-Fried closely as he addressed the court. 

Kaplan requested that Bankman-Fried serve his time in a minimal or medium-security facility, ideally close to San Francisco, CA, so he can be near his family.

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