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FTX founder sentenced to 25 years in prison for massive crypto fraud

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Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the U.S. Courthouse in New York City, July 26, 2023.

Amr Alfiky | Reuters

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday for the massive fraud and conspiracy that doomed his cryptocurrency exchange and a related hedge fund.

“They built something really beautiful and I threw all of that away,” Bankman-Fried said of his co-workers at FTX. “It haunts me every day.”

“It’s been excruciating to watch this all unfold,” he said. “Customers don’t deserve this level of pain.

“I was the CEO of FTX and I was responsible.”

SBF faced a maximum possible sentence of 110 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines for the massive fraud conspiracy that led to the collapse of FTX and a related hedge fund, a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Lewis Kaplan increased the sentencing guidelines range for Bankman-Fried after finding that he had perjured himself at his trial and knowingly obstructed justice.

The judge also found Thursday that the total loss of the fraud at FTX exceeded $550 million. Anything more than that is “just gravy,” Kaplan noted, referring to the fact that any more loss would not increase the top end of the guidelines.

However, Kaplan said he “rejects the entirety of defendant’s argument there was no loss” at FTX, calling that claim “misleading, logically flawed and speculative.”

After Kaplan ruled on the guideline enhancement, several victims of Bankman-Fried began talking about the effects of his crimes.

Bankman-Fried, who was wearing a beige jailhouse jumpsuit, looked at the victims as they talked to the judge.

Federal prosecutors want Bankman-Fried sentenced to between 40 to 50 years in prison. His defense team asked Kaplan to sentence him to much less than that, between five and six-a-half years behind bars.

Kaplan presided over the trial, which ended in November when a jury found Bankman-Fried, 32, guilty of seven counts and held him responsible for the roughly $10 billion of customer deposits that went missing in 2022.

The charges included wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud against FTX customers and against lenders to sister hedge fund Alameda Research; conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit commodities fraud against FTX investors; and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, are in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing.

FTX’s former CEO and founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried (L), and his father, Joseph Bankman, arrive at Manhattan Federal Court for his sentencing at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on March 28, 2024. 

Timothy A. Clary | Afp | Getty Images

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