LIVE: Sam Bankman-Fried Returns to New York Courthouse for Sentencing in FTX Fraud Case

Sam Bankman-Fried is in a Manhattan courthouse again on Thursday to face sentencing after his November conviction on seven different fraud and conspiracy charges tied to the operation and collapse of FTX.

The former CEO faces decades behind bars. The U.S. Department of Justice successfully presented a case holding him responsible for FTX losing billions of customer and investor funds during its operation, saying he personally made decisions that led to the exchange’s 2022 bankruptcy. His attorneys requested no more than 6 1/2 years in prison, while prosecutors recommended 40 to 50 years in sentencing memos leading up to Thursday’s hearing.

Bankman-Fried, whose current lawyers are not the ones who represented him during the trial held in late 2023, is expected to appeal his conviction in the coming days; procedurally, he can’t appeal until after sentencing.

Read more: How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Sentencing Hearing May Play Out

A Presentence Investigation Report, which just tabulates the crimes Bankman-Fried was convicted of and creates a sentencing recommendation based on guidelines, recommended 100 years in prison. Lewis Kaplan, the Southern District of New York judge who has overseen Bankman-Fried’s case, isn’t bound to this recommendation or any of the others provided.

Still, he will consider supporting materials filed by both the prosecution and the defense.

The DOJ said Bankman-Fried deserved a severe penalty, citing the fact that FTX, which was once valued at $32 billion, lost essentially all its money due to his malfeasance. During the trial, prosecutors said Bankman-Fried stole $8 billion of customer money to fund venture-capital investments, real-estate purchases, political donations and more. Prosecutors submitted dozens of victim impact statements from former FTX customers as evidence, saying the sheer scale of the fraud Bankman-Fried was convicted on supported a harsher penalty – though one that was half what he technically could face.

Defense lawyers argued, on the other hand, that Bankman-Fried didn’t intend to defraud customers, had shown remorse and had attempted to resolve FTX’s bankruptcy after it began, saying the DOJ’s proposal was extreme. Their supporting letters spoke more to Bankman-Fried as a person than to FTX and its collapse, with writers pointing to his veganism and anecdotes from his youth. Several letters said Bankman-Fried appeared to be neurodivergent and thus might not have understood the severity of the situation. Former New York Police Department officer Carmine Simpson, his fellow inmate in a Brooklyn detention facility who pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor, wrote a letter saying Bankman-Fried, a vegan, has been forced to eat poorly in jail.

Bankman-Fried’s sentencing hearing kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET (13:30 UTC).

Read all of CoinDesk’s SBF trial coverage here.


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