Former crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison

Bankman-Fried, 32, sentenced for fraud on customers of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange he founded.

Former crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in United States federal prison for stealing $8bn from customers of the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange he founded.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan handed down the sentence at a Manhattan court hearing on Thursday after rejecting Bankman-Fried’s claim that FTX customers did not actually lose money and accusing him of lying during his trial testimony.

A jury found Bankman-Fried, 32, guilty on November 2 on seven fraud and conspiracy counts stemming from FTX’s 2022 collapse in what prosecutors have called one of the biggest financial frauds in US history.


“He knew it was wrong,” Kaplan said of Bankman-Fried before handing down the sentence. “He knew it was criminal. He regrets that he made a very bad bet about the likelihood of getting caught. But he is not going to admit a thing, as is his right.”

Bankman-Fried stood with his hands clasped before him as Kaplan read the sentence.

Kaplan said the sentence reflected “that there is a risk that this man will be in position to do something very bad in the future. And it’s not a trivial risk at all.”


Prior to sentencing, Bankman-Fried stood and apologised. “A lot of people feel really let down. And they were very let down. And I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage,” he said.

“My useful life is probably over. It’s been over for a while now, from before my arrest.”

Sam Bankman-Fried, centre left, is escorted out of Magistrate Court following a hearing in Nassau, Bahamas, Dec. 19, 2022 [File: Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo]
Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey, reporting from New York, said that Bankman-Fried could have received up to 110 years behind bars for his crimes and that the 25-year sentence was less than the 40-50 years that prosecutors were seeking.

“Given the scale of this crime, one of the largest frauds in history, the judge took a very strong stance but also showed some flexibility… perhaps based on the arguments made by Bankman-Fried’s lawyers and his family that he had always intended to do good”, she said.

Bankman-Fried had billed himself as a proponent of effective altruism – finding the best way to help other people, in particular by donating all or part of one’s wealth to charity rather than, say, volunteering at a soup kitchen.

When the cryptocurrency world lurched into crisis in the spring of 2022, he bought shares in the troubled platform BlockFi and another troubled company, Voyager.

However, prosecutors have said the responsible image he cultivated concealed his years-long embezzlement of customer funds.

“The defendant victimised tens of thousands of people and companies, across several continents, over a period of multiple years. He stole money from customers who entrusted it to him” prosecutors said in a court filing.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies