Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals FTX Fraud Sentence Of 25 Years

Former crypto billionaire and FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has this week filed his expected appeal against a lengthy prison sentence.

On 28 March 2024 Bankman-Fried had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for masterminding a $8 billion fraud at the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange he had founded.

It came after Bankman-Fried in November 2023 had been found guilty of all US charges (including fraud, money-laundering and stealing funds) for his role in the collapse of FTX and Alameda Research.

Federal prosecutors called it one of the biggest financial frauds in US history.

Bankman-Fried appeal

At the time, defence lawyer Marc Mukasey had vowed to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Now Reuters has reported that on Thursday Bankman-Fried appealed his conviction, but noted that the appeal could take years.

According to Reuters, Bankman-Fried faces steep odds, with his lawyers needing to persuade the 2nd Circuit – and potentially the US Supreme Court – that US District Judge Lewis Kaplan made significant errors that deprived Bankman-Fried of his legal rights and made the trial unfair.

It should be remembered that the 25 year prison sentence imposed by Judge Kaplan was much less than what US prosecutors had sought.

Bankman-Fried had potentially been facing a prison sentence of 100 plus years, but defence lawyer Marc Mukasey in February had urged the judge not to impose that 100 year sentence, and instead argued that a sentence of 5 to 6 years would be appropriate.

US federal prosecutors however had sought a prison sentence of 40 to 50 years.

FTX colleagues

Three former close associates who had testified as prosecution witnesses against Bankman-Fried, are still waiting to hear their fate.

In December 2022 Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research (and the former girlfriend of Bankman-Fried), as well Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, had pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in the crypto trading platform.

In March 2023 former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh had plead guilty to criminal charges in the US.

During the trial last year they said Bankman-Fried ordered them to use FTX funds to pay Alameda’s debts, make political donations, and buy luxury real estate in the Bahamas.

All three are awaiting sentencing, Reuters reported.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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