From Crypto Royalty to Fraudster: SBF Pleas For 6-Year Prison Term After Proposed ‘Grotesque’ 100-Year Sentence

February 29, 2024

Once celebrated as the “golden figure of crypto” and the visionary leader behind the then-formidable crypto empire FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried now seeks a more lenient sentence, aiming for 78 months or less. He expressed a desire for a fairer outcome, emphasizing his lack of greed and asserting that he “is already being punished.”

Leading his defense, attorney Marc Mukasey launched a robust critique against the Pre-sentence Investigation Report’s (PSR) suggestion of a century-long sentence. “That recommendation is grotesque,” attorney Mukasey wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed on February 27, referencing a pre-sentencing report by probation officers.

Emphasizing Bankman-Fried’s status as a first-time offender and the likelihood of FTX clients reclaiming the majority of their funds, SBF’s lawyers underscored the disproportionate nature of the proposed sentence, the court filing showed.

Moreover, Mukasey argued that the probation office’s recommendations “substantially overstates the seriousness of Sam’s offense, which warrants a downward departure.”

For his lawyers, Bankman-Fried should instead be sentenced to a prison term of five to six-and-a-half years noting that the sentencing should consider the crypto mogul’s “charitable works” and how he  “demonstrated commitment to others.”

In a detailed defense, Mukasey contested portrayals of Bankman-Fried as a figure devoid of morality, refuting allegations of fraudulent activities costing billions to customers as it painted a contrasting image of SBF, emphasizing his altruism, kindness, and the absence of predatory intentions in his actions. 

“Sam Bankman-Fried has been described as a ‘sociopath,’ ‘a man with no morals, remorse or empathy,’ who is an ‘an ice-cold manipulator, bully and shameless liar,’” his lawyers said in the court filing. “But they don’t know the true Sam Bankman-Fried.”

“Sam was not predatory. He did not set out to prey on the elderly, the unsophisticated, or implement a plan to poach pension assets. His conduct falls far lower on the culpability scale.” He also “never intended to cause loss for the purpose of his own personal gain.” 

In November, Bankman-Fried was convicted on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy, facing a potential maximum sentence of 110 years. This verdict has sparked discussions among legal experts about the likely duration of his sentence, with estimates ranging significantly based on various factors, including his behavior.

Bankman-Fried’s legal struggles intensified following the revocation of his bail in August 2023, after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan identified credible evidence of witness tampering

His sentencing is set to take place on March 28.

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