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Sam Bankman-Fried has been handed a 25-year prison term

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his involvement in a massive fraud and conspiracy that led to the downfall of his cryptocurrency exchange and a related hedge fund called Alameda Research.

The sentence was pronounced in Manhattan federal court, and while it fell short of the 40 to 50 years sought by federal prosecutors, it exceeded the five to six-and-a-half years proposed by Bankman-Fried’s defense team. Judge Lewis Kaplan, presiding over the case, expressed concern about the risk of future misconduct from Bankman-Fried and ordered him to forfeit $11 billion to the U.S. government.

During the trial, Kaplan observed Bankman-Fried’s lack of remorse and criticized his testimony, noting that it lacked credibility. Despite Bankman-Fried’s claims of a liquidity crisis or mismanagement leading to the loss of customer funds, the judge pointed out that Bankman-Fried had not shown any remorse for the crimes committed.

Bankman-Fried’s trial revealed a pattern of looting customer funds for personal investments, political contributions, and loan repayments. While he expressed regret for the impact on customers and acknowledged his responsibility as the CEO of FTX, he denied committing fraud and maintained that customers would eventually be reimbursed.

Prosecutors argued that FTX’s collapse was not due to a liquidity crisis but rather the theft of billions of dollars of customer money. They emphasized the significant impact on victims and pushed for a lengthy prison sentence for Bankman-Fried.

In his defense, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers highlighted his psychological struggles and described him as an awkward math enthusiast with a troubled emotional state. They argued against a harsh prison sentence, emphasizing Bankman-Fried’s work ethic and portraying him as a complex individual rather than a malicious fraudster.

However, Judge Kaplan rejected Bankman-Fried’s defense, calling his claims of no loss at FTX misleading and logically flawed. He emphasized the severity of the crimes committed and the suffering endured by victims, including Sunil Kavuri, who spoke about the ongoing impact of the fraud on his life.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams characterized Bankman-Fried’s actions as one of the largest financial frauds in history, demonstrating a blatant disregard for the law and his customers’ trust. Attorney General Merrick Garland warned against using wealth and power to conceal financial crimes.

In response to the sentencing, Bankman-Fried’s family expressed heartbreak and pledged to continue fighting for their son. They were present in the courtroom during the proceedings.

Bankman-Fried plans to appeal his conviction and sentence, while three other individuals implicated in the case await their own sentencings after pleading guilty. Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh, and Gary Wang, who testified against Bankman-Fried, face legal consequences for their roles in the FTX and Alameda Research schemes.

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