FTX Founder Asks Judge For Lenient 7-Year Sentence

Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, urged the judge to hand their client a lighter prison sentence of 7 years rather than the 100-year sentence prosecutors and probation officers recommended to the court after a jury found Bankman-Fried guilty of several counts of wire fraud and financial fraud involving billions of dollars.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys called the sentencing recommendation of 100 years that prosecutors made in the multi-billion dollar financial fraud case “grotesque” and “barbaric.” They said the court officers who came up with 100 years “improperly” applied sentencing guidelines to the case. Prosecutors say the trial evidence supports what they have asked the court to do.

“Sam Bankman-Fried has been described as a ‘sociopath,’ a man with no morals, remorse or empathy,’ who is an ‘an ice-cold manipulator, bully, and shameless liar,’” his lawyers said in a filing with Manhattan federal court Judge Lewis Kaplan.

“But they don’t know the true Sam Bankman-Fried,” his attorneys claimed.

While maintaining the defense’s line of argument that Bankman-Fried did not cost his customers billions of dollars or commit fraud, his lawyers cited his “neurodiversity” and “selflessness” as reasons for a lighter sentence, bringing up how the FTX founder gave money to charity.

The filing emphasized that Bankman-Fried is remorseful for the results of his management of FTX and its cryptocurrency token FTT — and its sister organization, Alameda Research. It said he is “full of regret for the enormous damage that he has caused his (former) friends, family, partners, colleagues, and the causes he cared so deeply about.”

The request also included a character witness with a quote from his mother writing in a letter that Bankman-Fried “has been wracked with remorse for not having prevented the implosion of FTX and the damage that followed.”

“I think it’s something that will be contested,” said Jordan Estes, a former federal prosecutor with the US Attorney’s Office. “The government may say that doesn’t matter — that what matters is the intended loss, or what the loss was at the time,” he said, referring to news from FTX’s bankruptcy lawyers that it will be able to recover most of its client’s funds.