Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder and former CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was sentenced on Thursday to 25 years in prison.

The hearing puts an end to a months-long sentencing process that began shortly after the Department of Justice successfully argued in court that the one-time crypto wunderkind had used FTX as his personal piggy bank.

Bankman-Fried siphoned more than $8 billion in customer funds to fund moonshot venture investments, paid sponsorships with celebrity athletes like Tom Brady, and a lavish lifestyle in the Bahamas, among other expenses.

In early November, the jury took less than five hours to find Bankman-Fried guilty of seven counts of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy—which would amount to potentially 110 years behind bars.


Bankman-Fried then ditched the lawyers who led his defense during the trial, and, weeks later, the government called off a second planned trial for charges it did not bring against Bankman-Fried during his first. His new defense team and the Justice Department have since filed opposing briefs to Kaplan arguing for vastly different sentences for the convicted crypto criminal.

Lawyers for the former CEO wrote that “a sentence of decades-long duration would end Sam’s ability to lead a meaningful life and contribute to the neediest in society.” Instead of a century in prison, a time span they called “grotesque,” they proposed a reduced sentence of somewhere between five and seven years. 

Conversely, the government advocated for a prison sentence between 40 and 50 years and urged Kaplan “to impose a sentence that underscores the remarkably serious nature of the harm to thousands of victims; prevents the defendant from ever again committing fraud; and sends a powerful signal to others who might be tempted to engage in financial misconduct.”

Edited by Andrew Hayward


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