Updated March 28th, 2024 at 18:09 IST

Sam Bankman-Fried set to face sentence for multi-billion crypto fraud

Although Bankman-Fried faces a maximum sentence of 110 years, prosecutors are seeking a prison term of at least 40 to 50 years.

Reported by: Business Desk
Sam Bankman-Fried | Image:AP Photo

SBF’s sentence:  Former cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried is scheduled to face sentencing on Thursday following his conviction for defrauding customers of the now-defunct FTX exchange, which he founded. 

The 32-year-old entrepreneur could potentially receive a lengthy prison term after being found guilty on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy by a jury in November. The sentencing proceedings, set to commence at 9:30 am EDT (1330 GMT) before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, mark a turn in Bankman-Fried's trajectory from a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world to a central figure in US authorities' efforts to combat wrongdoing in digital asset markets.


Largest financial fraud in US history

Although Bankman-Fried faces a maximum sentence of 110 years, prosecutors are seeking a prison term of 40 to 50 years, citing his involvement in what they describe as one of the largest financial frauds in US history. The US Attorney's office in Manhattan characterised Bankman-Fried's recent life as marked by excessive greed and recklessness with other people's money, focusing his pursuit of risky ventures and his disregard for the consequences.


In response, Bankman-Fried's defence attorney, Marc Mukasey, has argued for a considerably shorter sentence, suggesting that a term of less than 5-1/4 years would be appropriate. Mukasey highlighted Bankman-Fried's efforts to assist in the recovery of funds following FTX's collapse in November 2022 and contended that customers would likely be compensated through the bankruptcy process.

From crypto saviour to crypto criminal

While Bankman-Fried has maintained his innocence and intends to appeal his conviction and sentence, the case has garnered attention for its portrayal of a once-celebrated figure now facing serious legal repercussions. From his meteoric rise as a cryptocurrency billionaire to his indictment on charges of embezzlement and fraud, Bankman-Fried's story reflects the complexities and risks associated with the digital asset landscape.

Prosecutors have underscored concerns about Bankman-Fried's potential to engage in fraudulent behaviour in the future, pointing to his past actions and personal reflections. Despite his philanthropic endeavours and political contributions, which included substantial support for Democratic candidates, prosecutors argue that Bankman-Fried's facade of responsibility masked a pattern of deceit and exploitation.


As the sentencing hearing approaches, stakeholders await the outcome, which may serve as a cautionary tale for those operating within the cryptocurrency industry and underscore the importance of accountability and transparency in financial markets.

(With Reuters inputs)


Published March 28th, 2024 at 18:09 IST