Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyer Calls Sentence ‘Grotesque’

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former founder and leader of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is facing a possible sentence of 100 years in jail for multiple fraud charges.

This week, his lawyer said the suggestion of such a sentence is “grotesque” and “barbaric.”

His legal team has suggested instead that a term that would include a few years in jail was much more appropriate for the crimes that he is alleged to have committed, even though he continues to dispute them all.

On Tuesday, SBF’s lawyers told the court that a sentence between 63 and 78 months is much more appropriate for their client. They cite SBF’s multiple medical conditions, including autism, as a reason for the shorter sentence, as well as the goals that he had for improving the world as a whole through his crypto exchange.

Marc Mukasey, one of SBF’s attorneys, added that a report issued by Probation officers had improperly calculated guidelines for federal sentencing when they recommend a sentence only 10 years shorter of the maximum potential behind bars for the charges, which is 100 years.

SBF was arrested while in the Bahamas back in January of 2023 after FTX, a crypto exchange that he founded, imploded. That happened after the exchange had a shortfall in funds of $8 billion.

Allegations then quickly emerged that SBF was taking money from consumers who dumped it in FTX to help prop up Alameda Research, a struggling hedge fund that he also headed.

Prosecutors alleged that SBF cheated customers and investors out of at least $10 billion in businesses that he was in control of between 2017 and 2022.

Last November, SBF was found guilty of seven different counts of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud.

SBF is set to be sentenced on March 28 by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

On Tuesday, Mukasey wrote that a proper sentence for his client would be based on sentencing guidelines that call for a term in prison of between five and 6.5 years.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the sentencing through a spokesperson. They will respond to Mukasey’s filing through court paper filings of their own in the middle of this month.

That being said, Mukasey has said that prosecutors have already agreed with the recommendation of a 100-year prison sentencing, saying that length of sentence was supported by evidence at trial.

Mukasey prepared the 90-page document arguing for his client’s sentence along with four other lawyers. In it, he said the fact that he has been committed to others and led many charitable works means that an appropriate sentence would return SBF “promptly to a productive role in society.”

He also wrote that the Probation office “recommends that the Court sentence Sam to 100 years in prison. That recommendation is grotesque.”

He then called on Kaplan to reject that “barbaric proposal” for his client, who is a “brilliant, complex and humane person” who rarely drinks, doesn’t do drugs and is considered a first-time offender.