Home / News / Crypto / News / Sam Bankman-Fried Prison Sentence: SBF Wants 6 Years, Will He Get 100?
4 min read

Sam Bankman-Fried Prison Sentence: SBF Wants 6 Years, Will He Get 100?

Last Updated February 28, 2024 1:23 PM
Eddie Mitchell
Last Updated February 28, 2024 1:23 PM
Key Takeaways
  • Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) faces a maximum of 110 years in jail, FTX lawyers claim this is “barbaric.”
  • Lawyers are arguing to reduce this to a maximum of 6.5 years in a 98-page filing.
  • No previous criminal records, a lifelong health condition, positive character witness statements, and altruism cited in reasoning.

The legal team for Sam-Bankman Fried (SBF) has filed a 98-page memo  to the United States District Court in Manhatten requesting that his prison sentence carries a maximum jail time of 6.5 years.

Describing the Pre-sentence Investigation Report (PSR) recommendation for a 100-year sentence as “grotesque”, SBF’s legal counsel has cited numerous arguments and legal precedents in their appeal. Is 100 years a little over the top? Or is 6.5 years too little?

SBF Lawyers File Appeal

Ahead of the sentencing hearing on March 28, 2024, SBF’s lawyers have responded to the PSR’s recommendation to sentence SBF to 100 years in jail, placing the former FTX CEO behind bars for the rest of his life.

court filing
SBF legal counsel argue historical and legal precedent.

The FTX legal counsel calls  the recommendation “grotesque”. They claim the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, nor does it make sense for an individual who has no criminal background, and has an outstanding commitment to philanthropy. It is also noted that he was accompanied by four other individuals “in a matter where the victims are poised to recover – were always poised to recover – a hundred cents on the dollar.”

A great deal of the filing contains a series of glowing character witness statements that describe his often altruistic, caring, and selfless nature. The memo evidences this by adding that ever since the collapse of FTX, SBF has held himself to the highest levels of accountability and has remained focused on repaying customers in full.

Lawyers state that these heavy life-long sentences should be reserved for the worst of crimes, citing prior terrorist conspiracies and other precedents which that very court had confronted in the past.

As Bad as Bernie Madoff?

A rather crucial comparison is made between the SBF case and that of Bernie Madoff, who in 2009 was sentenced to 150 years in jail as well as the forfeiture of the $170 billion he had made in a fraudulent scheme that lasted over 20 years.

court filing
A comparison is made to the 2009 Bernie Madoff case

 “Madoff’s conduct featured numerous aggravating factors not present in Sam’s case. As a threshold matter, Madoff’s “investment advisory business” was never real; it was set up as a fraud almost from the beginning.”

Lawyers posit  that there can be no denying that FTX and Alameda were “lawfully conceived, actual, functional” as well as being profitable businesses. Furthermore, Madoff admitted to abusing these funds and spending these riches in every conceivable way, something of which SBF does not stand accused nor has admitted.

The OneCoin Precedent

Perhaps the starkest comparison made in the lawyers’ arguments is to that of OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood, who, alongside “the Crypto Queen” Ruja Ignatova, conducted a decade-long scheme that clawed $4 billion  from victims.

Greenwood, for his role in actively and knowingly deceiving victims whom he had called “idiots” using his mastery of marketing and manipulation, bagged a 20-year jail sentence , whilst Ruja Igntova remains a fugitive and is on FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List .

It has also seen the imprisonment of the company’s lawyer, as well as a guilty plea from OneCoin’s Head of Legal and Compliance, displaying levels of complicit criminal activity that SBF’s lawyers argue are not wholly present in the case of FTX. A Predictable Outcome?

Legal precedent plays a significant role in determining the outcome of any courtroom battle, and these arguments, amongst others, do indeed carry weight.

But time will soon tell if any of these arguments will see a more lenient sentencing for SBF, as now prosecutors have until March 15, 2024, to submit their sentencing recommendations ahead of the final hearing on March 28, 2024.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No