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Sam Bankman-Fried Moved to California Prison, Despite Disgraced FTX Founder’s Plans to Appeal in New York

Last Updated May 23, 2024 8:30 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated May 23, 2024 8:30 AM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Sam Bankman-Fried is moving from New York to a California prison despite a judge’s order to keep him in New York pending his appeal.
  • The Bureau of Prisons has not commented on the judge’s recommendation or the transfer process.
  • Bankman-Fried’s transfer to California could take over a month, with temporary stops at various facilities along the way.

Federal officials started to transfer Sam Bankman-Fried  to a new prison early Wednesday. This move comes despite the disgraced former billionaire’s preference to remain in New York to aid in preparing his appeal.

His spokesman did not confirm the destination. However, sources close to the situation indicated that the FTX founder will go to a federal prison in Mendota, California. In March, Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison for orchestrating one of the largest frauds in US history.

Judge Recommends Keeping SBF in New York Amid Prison Transfer

Shortly after the transfer began, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over Bankman-Fried’s trial, issued an order . This advised the Federal Bureau of Prisons to keep him in New York to make it easier for him to contact his lawyers. This order was a response to a plea made by Bankman-Fried’s lawyers six weeks earlier .  It remains uncertain, however, whether it can halt the ongoing transfer.

A Bureau of Prisons (BOP) spokesperson declined  to comment on the transfer or on Judge Kaplan’s recommendations.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s spokesman expressed gratitude for the court’s attention to their concerns. He expressed hope that the BOP would adhere to the court’s recommendation to keep him in New York.

Bankman-Fried’s Prison Transfer Sparks Legal Dispute

After his arrest last summer, Bankman-Fried was help in a dormitory-style facility in New York. In April, his legal team requested that he remain at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to assist in preparing his appeal briefs. In the long term, his lawyers called for his transfer to California. This was so he could serve his sentence closer to his parents’ home near Stanford University.

Several days ago, Sam Bankman-Fried was informed that his transfer was imminent. Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning, prison officials told him about the move, according to sources. Mendota, the destination, is situated southeast of San Francisco and hosts both a medium-security prison and an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp.

It wasn’t immediately clear which facility would house Bankman-Fried. However, given the length of his sentence, federal guidelines suggest it is likely he will move to the medium-security prison.

Bankman-Fried Faces Long, Uncertain Journey to California Prison

According to  Michael Santos, a former convict and founder of Prison Professors, a digital publishing firm for prisoners, the transfer process for Sam Bankman-Fried could take a month or more.

Inmates during such transfers are typically shackled and held under strict security and are usually transported by either bus or airplane.

Santos noted that for cross-country transfers, inmates often make temporary stops at federal prison-transit centers. During these transfers, prisoners are largely isolated from the outside world. They also receive minimal information about their forthcoming relocations.

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