FTX fraudster, Sam Bankman-Fried to be sentenced today for duping thousands of crypto investors out of $8billion

FTX fraudster, Sam Bankman-Fried to be sentenced today for duping thousands of crypto investors out of $8billion

FTX fraudster, Sam Bankman-Fried to be sentenced today for duping thousands of crypto investors out of $8billion

Former billionaire crypto boss, Sam Bankman-Fried, who was convicted of fraud and money laundering, will be sentenced today for his crimes.

Bankman-Fried, 32, was convicted last November of fraud and conspiracy by a jury that found that he illegally used money from FTX depositors to cover his expenses, which included purchasing luxury properties in the Caribbean, alleged bribes to Chinese officials and private planes.

He will return to a New York court on Thursday.

Prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of 40 to 50 years.

“The defendant victimised tens of thousands of people and companies, across several continents, over a period of multiple years,” prosecutors told Judge Lewis Kaplan in a court filing.

“He stole money from customers who entrusted it to him; he lied to investors; he sent fabricated documents to lenders; he pumped millions of dollars in illegal donations into our political system; and he bribed foreign officials. Each of these crimes is worthy of a lengthy sentence,” they added.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, friends and family have urged leniency, saying he is unlikely to reoffend. They also say FTX’s investors have largely recovered their funds, a claim disputed by bankruptcy lawyers, FTX and its creditors.

“Mr Bankman-Fried continues to live a life of delusion,” wrote John Ray, who was appointed CEO of FTX after its collapse and had to clean up the bankrupt company. “The ‘business’ he left on November 11, 2022, was neither solvent nor safe.”

Two weeks ago, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Marc Mukasey slammed a probation office recommendation of 100 years in prison, saying a sentence of that length would be “grotesque” and “barbaric”.

He urged the judge to sentence Bankman-Fried to a term of five to six and a half years in prison.

“Sam is not the ‘evil genius’ depicted in the media or the greedy villain described at trial,” Mukasey said, calling his client a “first-time, non-violent offender”.

FTX’s collapse in 2022 was a stunning fall for Bankman-Fried, who had become a billionaire and business celebrity promoting the firm, a platform people could use to deposit and trade crypto.

It attracted millions of customers before rumours of financial trouble sparked a run on deposits.

In November 2023, a US jury found Bankman-Fried had stolen billions in customer money from the exchange ahead of the collapse to buy property, make political donations and use for other investments.

Many of those customers now appear poised to recover significant sums, under a plan being developed in the separate bankruptcy case.

Under that proposal, former customers could receive money based on what their holdings were worth at the time the exchange collapsed.

In court filings, the defence for Bankman-Fried, who is expected to appeal his conviction, has argued that such recovery warrants a lighter sentence.

They said it proved that “money has always been available” which “would be impossible if [FTX’s] assets had disappeared into Sam’s personal pockets”.

But the repayment plan has left many former customers outraged, since they will miss out on the crypto rebound that has occurred since.

John Ray, the lawyer leading FTX through bankruptcy and a critic of Bankman-Fried, noted the concerns in his own letter to court.

“Make no mistake; customers, non-governmental creditors, governmental creditors, and non-insider stockholders have suffered and continue to suffer,” he wrote to the court, arguing that the claims of minimal loss were a sign that Bankman-Fried continued to live “a life of delusion”.

 

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