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Sam Bankman-Fried given more lenient jail sentence of 25 years; could be free in 13 years [Update]

Sam Bankman-Fried

Update: Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in jail by Judge Lewis Kaplan. In court, he said that he knew he let a lot of people down and that he is sorry for that.

Despite saying he's sorry and admitting fault, and the sentence being quite lenient compared to what he could have gotten, his legal team has said it will be appealing the decision after it said the term should be around 6.5 years due to the recovery of most of the funds and arguing that he had suffered from mental health issues.

With the 25 year sentence, one lawyer speaking to BBC News, Mitchell Epner, warned that Bankman-Fried could get out of jail in just 13 years.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former head of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is due to be handed a prison sentence on Thursday in New York. Bankman-Fried is currently 32 years old and prosecutors are seeking to have him locked up for 40 to 50 years, meaning he could easily die behind bars.

The prosecutors say that this jail term is justified for lying to investors and banks and stealing billions in deposits from customers. His defense team, however, is seeking leniency because a bankruptcy process will see investors receive back a hefty chunk of their deposits, valued at the price they were at when FTX went under.

The defense argues that as money is being returned, it couldn’t have all vanished into Bankman-Fried’s own pockets. It’s worth noting that with FTX returning money valued at the time of its collapse, investors will be missing out on the recent Bitcoin rally which will most likely annoy a large percentage of those who invested.

Despite what his defense has said, a US jury found Bankman-Fried guilty of stealing billions in customer’s money from the exchange before it collapsed so that he could buy property, make political donations, and make other investments.

Giving comment on the chances of leniency in the sentence, Columbia Law professor Daniel Richman said:

“Any judge or lawyer will tell you that one of the best things the defendant can do before being sentenced is really really show he's on the right path, show some remorse and show some degree of self-knowledge as to his offence.

Here you not only have a defendant who went to trial but you have one who really, at least the judge believed, was obstructive prior to trial.”

Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried, who is a former law professor, said in an appeal to the judge that the US justice system is too punitive in its nature and makes it an “extreme outlier among democracies.” She said that if Bankman-Fried is locked away for decades it “will destroy Sam as surely as would hanging him.”

The sentence will be handed down during court hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time.

Source: BBC News and BBC News

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