The 6 Reasons Prosecutors Want Sam Bankman-Fried to Spend 40-50 Years in Prison

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Prosecutors in New York asked a court on Friday to sentence crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried to between 40 and 50 years in prison for defrauding crypto investors and extracting billions of dollars from his companies FTX and Alameda Research. FTX imploded in 2022, turning a high-flying company once valued at $32 billion into a worthless husk in just a matter of days.

SBF was found guilty in November 2023 on seven counts, including fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors included a laundry list of reasons in the new filing Friday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan explaining why they believe the former billionaire should get what amounts to a life sentence.

“The amount of loss—at least $10 billion—makes this one of the largest financial frauds of all time,” the prosecutors wrote. “Indeed, there does not appear to have been such a fraud of this magnitude—measured by loss—prosecuted in this country, let alone in this District, since the prosecution of Bernie Madoff.”

From the new court filing about why SBF deserves such a harsh prison sentence:

  1. “He aggregate losses to tens of thousands of victims worldwide were over $10 billion, with each of the defendant’s frauds—on customers, investors, and lenders—alone involving losses that exceeded the top of the loss table in the [sentencing] Guidelines.”
  2. “The crimes were ongoing, complex, and involved systematic deception over a period of years.”
  3. “The losses suffered by victims were severe and life changing, and had significant collateral consequences to them.”
  4. “The defendant’s criminality was pervasive, as evidenced not just by his crimes of conviction, but by the fact that he committed several other significant crimes while running FTX.”
  5. “As evidenced by his witness tampering and perjury, the defendant did not cease his criminal conduct after being arrested.”
  6. “At no point has the defendant accepted responsibility for his crimes. Each of these elements of the defendant’s criminal conduct bear on the seriousness of the offense and warrant the imposition of a very severe sentence.”

The prosecutors also included dozens of messages from victims who lost tremendous amounts of money due to the fraud perpetrated by SBF. The statements are heartbreaking, to say the least, and help to give a human face to the destruction the 32-year-old alleged boy genius unleashed in such a relatively short period of time.

“The financial loss we incurred was significant—not just in monetary terms, but in the stability it provided our family,” one of the victim’s statements reads. “We were brought to the brink of losing our home, struggling to meet mortgage payments and maintain a semblance of normalcy for our child. The psychological strain of this situation cannot be overstated. My relationship with my spouse suffered, creating tensions that, to this day, we are working to overcome.”

The victims also noted the psychological toll of the FTX collapse, leading some people to thoughts of suicide.

“The pressure and hopelessness of our predicament led me to entertain thoughts of suicide, marking the darkest period of my life. This ordeal was not simply a financial setback; it was a threat to the very foundation of my family and my own existence,” a victim explained in the court filing.

The judge overseeing the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, will decide what sentence to impose in a hearing scheduled for March 28, according to the New York Times.

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