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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was carted off to a detention facility in New York on Friday after his bail was revoked. His accommodations will be a far cry from his parent’s home on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, where he previously dwelled on house arrest.
The disgraced crypto wunderkind was remanded to Metropolitan Detention Center, (MDC) Brooklyn after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found probable cause to believe Bankman-Fried engaged in witness tampering. Bankman-Fried already faces a litany of criminal charges, such as fraud, in connection to the collapse of FTX last November.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator, Bankman-Fried is now among the approximately 1,600 incarcerated individuals at the facility, which has housed other high-profile inmates in the past.
At one point, the inmate list included convicted sex trafficker and former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. She was, coincidentally, represented by Bankman Fried’s current attorney, Mark S. Cohen. That was before she was found guilty of crimes and offenses in connection with the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In November 2021, Maxwell decried the conditions at MDC Brooklyn. She told the U.K.'s Daily Mail about rats living in her cell and “creepy” guards that prevented her from taking showers comfortably.
“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli was also held at MDC Brooklyn before he was convicted in 2018 of a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. In 2017, he told The Tab to “avoid this place,” recalling a time he almost got into a fight while waiting in line to use a computer.
On Saturday, Shkreli said on Twitter that MDC Brooklyn “sucks for Sam” and posited that the former crypto mogul may not see home again for 15 to 30 years. Shkreli had previously consoled Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon (who has since been arrested) that “jail is not that bad” on a recording of the UpOnly podcast.
New York Attorney General Leticia James called living conditions at MDC Brooklyn “unacceptable and inhumane” in 2019 when she filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons over a power outage that left prisoners freezing cold.
But there’s a chance that Bankman-Fried could be moved to a different facility ahead of his trial in October. Federal prosecutors suggested the FTX founder could be held at a Putnam County Correctional Facility before his bail was revoked, per Reuters.
Putnam County Correctional Facility is billed as a medium-level security facility in upstate New York. It’s located about an hour and a half north of the courthouse that Bankman-Fried left in handcuffs on Friday.
While the conditions at MDC Brooklyn are known to be harsh, so too were the conditions at the Bahamas’ Fox Hill prison, where Bankman-Fried was held before being extradited to the U.S. after he was arrested last December.
A report in 2021 by the U.S. State Department found most cells at that prison lacked mattresses and toilets. Many of the facility’s cells were infested with a mix of rats, maggots, and insects as well.
By comparison, the home that belongs to Bankman-Fried’s parents—where he was sent after his arraignment—likely felt like paradise. With expansive windows, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and a grand piano, the home also has a swimming pool, per The San Francisco Standard.
During his West Coast stint, requests were made on Bankman-Fried’s behalf to allow him to use media streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, while being able to browse news websites like CoinDesk and Decrypt.
Toward the tail end of his stay, Bankman-Fried’s counsel sought to expand the former crypto mogul’s guest list to include his “close friends” and “household help,” signaling that Bankman-Fried was feeling lonely and needed a maid.
According to the BOP’s website, inmates can add up to 10 friends or associates to their visiting list, although it is unclear whether Bankman-Fried would be subject to tighter restrictions. And, unsurprisingly, the MDC Brooklyn’s commissary list makes no mention of in-house cleaning services.