Home / News / Crypto / News / Ryan Salame Case: Prosecutors Recommend Five to Seven Years for Former FTX Executive
7 min read

Ryan Salame Case: Prosecutors Recommend Five to Seven Years for Former FTX Executive

Last Updated 32 seconds ago
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated 32 seconds ago
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Prosecutors have suggested that former FTX executive Ryan Salame receive a five to seven-year prison term.
  • Former FTX executive’s lawyers have asked for an 18-month sentence for his role in election fraud.
  • Salame’s legal team argue his involvement in FTX fraud was peripheral, and he was the first to alert authorities.
  • Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, former Alameda-FTX executives, also testified against Sam Bankman-Fried and admitted guilt.

Prosecutors are recommending a prison sentence of five to seven years  for former FTX executive Ryan Salame, who is facing criminal charges related to the multibillion-dollar collapse of the cryptocurrency empire.

Attorneys for Salame, who pleaded guilty to election fraud charges in September, have requested an 18-month sentence . A sentencing memorandum filed on Tuesday, May 14, says Salame had a “peripheral” part in FTX’s fraud. It also pointed out that he was the first executive to blow the whistle.

Prosecutors Seek “Substantial Sentence” for Salame

During his time at FTX and Alameda Research, Salame managed wire deposits and fiat currency conversions for FTX customers. He also made political contributions using Alameda funds, and led charitable efforts in the Bahamas.

In a recent court document , prosecutors advocated for a “substantial sentence” for 30-year-old Ryan Salame. They cited his guilty plea to “serious crimes” as justification. In contrast, Salame’s defense team have asked that he should face no more than 18 months in prison.

According to  prosecutors:

“The campaign finance offense is one of the largest-ever in American history, and the unlicensed money transmitting business exchanged more than $1 billion without proper supervision.”

Since his guilty plea in September, Ryan Salame has embarked on a new phase in his life. He is now raising his first child with his long-time partner, Michelle Bond, and has sought treatment for substance abuse.

His lawyers said :

“He has been a good man who has done much good in this world, who conspired to commit two crimes while in the thrall of a criminal leader who had beguiled captains of industry and politics far savvier than Ryan.”

Salame’s request for a sentence of 18 months or less stands in stark contrast to the 10-year prison term recommended by American probation officials.

Salame’s Lawyers Seek Leniency, Citing Peripheral Role in FTX Fraud

In their filings , Salame’s lawyers say his involvement in the operations of the now-defunct companies was “peripheral” to the fraud. They point say there are grounds for leniency in Salame’s case because of:

  • His cooperation with authorities.
  • Genuine remorse.
  • Efforts to overcome substance abuse issues.
  • Thesignificant personal and financial hardships he has endured since the collapse of the exchange.

His attorneys said :

“He had absolutely no knowledge that the four people at the center of Alameda and FTX had conspired to lie and to steal from their customers. Ryan stole from no one. He did not lie to customers. He was duped…when he finally understood the FTX fraud, he was the first person to blow the whistle to authorities in the Bahamas.”

The collapse of FTX has severely affected Ryan Salame’s personal and financial life, nearly eradicating his net worth, his lawyers claim.

Lawyers Highlight Media Scrutiny and Cooperation with Authorities

Additionally, his attorneys emphasized that the “incessant media criticism” Salame faces will have repercussions beyond any sentence the court may impose.

Salame’s legal team also notes that the “relentless” media scrutiny of FTX and all connected to Sam Bankman-Fried’s operations has guaranteed that he will face ongoing repercussions. They argue that the notoriety of FTX and his ties to Bankman-Fried will permanently hinder his employment prospects, acting as an “insurmountable barrier” to future job opportunities.

The document says that Salame provided crucial information to Bahamian authorities that triggered their investigation into FTX. Additionally, he supplied documents to the US Attorney’s Office voluntarily, without requiring a grand jury subpoena.

Former FTX Executive Ryan Salame Charged

Ryan Salame, former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, has agreed to forfeit his $5.9 million house in the Bahamas as part of a plea agreement to settle criminal charges.

This was stated in a filing  by the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Salame pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violation and operating an illegal money-transmitting business. He could face a sentence of up to 10 years.

The case of United States v Salame involves Salame’s role at FTX Digital Markets, a Bahamian subsidiary of the once-prominent cryptocurrency exchange FTX, managed by Sam Bankman-Fried. FTX declared bankruptcy in November 2022.

During his tenure at FTX Digital Markets, Salame was responsible for managing the exchange’s political donations, including significant contributions to the Republican Party among others.

Ryan Salame Pleads Guilty, Surrenders Bahamas Property in Settlement

Ryan Salame is currently out on a $1 million bond after pleading guilty in September 2023.

According to a recent filing , Salame faced multiple charges: conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions, defrauding the Federal Election Commission, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business. These developments are part of the broader legal proceedings following the high-profile collapse of FTX.

According to  the court:

“Following constructive, arm’s-length negotiations, Salame and the Debtors have agreed that in lieu of Salame paying the Restitution Amount to the Debtors in cash, Salame will satisfy the Restitution Amount by transferring a residence he owns in the Bahamas, Unit No. 3A in the Marina Residences at Albany Building 10 Condominium (the “Residence”), to FTX DM, acting by the JOLs, as nominee for the Debtors. As discussed below, the Residence has recently been appraised at $5,900,000, which exceeds the Restitution Amount.”

Ex-FTX Exec Faces Sentencing as Bankman-Fried Appeals Conviction

In November 2023, Sam Bankman-Fried, often referred to as the “king of crypto,” was found guilty on seven counts of fraud after a. Several former employees of FTX and Alameda Research provided testimony against him, including FTX co-founder Gary Wang, former Head of Engineering Nishad Singh, and Caroline Ellison. Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in jail in March.

Ryan Salame, will be the first among Bankman-Fried’s co-conspirators to get a sentence for his involvement in the scandal. He is due to be sentenced on May 28.

Recently, Bankman-Fried has launched an appeal against his conviction and sentence. His attorneys officially filed  to contest his jail time.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No