Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX Founder, Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison Over $8 Billion Crypto Fraud Scheme

The former cryptocurrency mogul went from being the 41st-richest American to a convicted felon in the blink of an eye.

Man in suit with patterned tie exits building, expression neutral
Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images
Man in suit with patterned tie exits building, expression neutral

FTX co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, the New York Times reports.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan handed down the sentence to the 32-year-old on Thursday, March 28. The sentence is substantially shorter than the 40 to 50 years federal prosecutors were seeking, and much longer than the six years and six months sentence his defense lawyers were hoping for.

"A lot of people feel really let down, and they were very let down," said Bankman-Fried in an apology to the investors and customers he was convicted of stealing $8 billion in total from. "I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage."

At a trial last year, Bankman-Fried was convicted of seven criminal charges, including fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.

He was the 41st-richest American in 2022 according to the Forbes 400 and among the youngest billionaires in the world before he brought FTX crumbling down. The company operated a cryptocurrency marketplace, offering customers easy access to digital currencies such as Bitcoin. At the height of its popularity, FTX received a valuation of over $30 billion.

Per the BBC, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said the former cryptocurrency mogul "orchestrated one of the largest financial frauds in history. ... The scale of his crimes is measured not just by the amount of money that was stolen, but by the extraordinary harm caused to victims—who in some cases had their life savings wiped out overnight."

Bankman-Fried and his company were found to have used $8 billion in FTX customer money to make personal investments, contribute to political campaigns, pay off lenders, and purchase real estate. When the extent of fraud was publicly exposed, he resigned from the company, which then filed for bankruptcy.

Many of his co-conspirators, including ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, pleaded guilty to fraud charges. He was arrested in November 2022 and was released on bail, which was later revoked in August last year after he was found to have intimidated witnesses in the case.

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