Sam Bankman-Fried Suggests Five-Year Sentence for Fraud Conviction, Citing Autism

A New York jury found Bankman-Fried guilty on all seven counts he faced last year. Prosecutors called the case one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history. (File Photo: AP)
A New York jury found Bankman-Fried guilty on all seven counts he faced last year. Prosecutors called the case one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history. (File Photo: AP)

Summary

His lawyers argued for 63 to 78 months in jail, citing medical conditions, including autism, and his intentions to better the world with his now-fallen crypto exchange.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys suggested a sentence of five to six years in prison, sharply lower than the roughly 100 years that he faces for stealing billions of dollars from FTX customers.

Lawyers for Bankman-Fried argued for 63 to 78 months in jail, citing medical conditions, including autism, and his intentions to better the world with his now-fallen crypto exchange FTX.

A New York jury found Bankman-Fried guilty on all seven counts he faced last year. Prosecutors called the case one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history. Bankman-Fried’s sentencing is scheduled for March 28.

In a nearly hundred-page sentencing memo filed late Tuesday, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers painted a picture of someone who devoted his life to philanthropy and living modestly—a picture at odds with prosecutors’ depictions of Bankman-Fried’s lavish penthouse lifestyle in the Bahamas.

His lawyers said Bankman-Fried wasn’t motivated by greed but by a desire to better the world through philanthropic giving. Material items and extravagance did nothing for him, they said.

“Those who know Sam are sensitive to the tragic fact that nothing in life brings him real happiness," his lawyers wrote. “Sam suffers from anhedonia, a severe condition characterized by a near-complete absence of enjoyment, motivation, and interest. He has been that way since childhood."

A lengthy prison sentence would pose a risk to Bankman-Fried’s safety, due to his autism spectrum disorder, his lawyers said. They wrote that people with the disorder may struggle with social cues and norms, and may be more likely to fail to respond in an expected way to other inmates and prison guards. crypt

“The social dynamics in prison and the scrutiny he is receiving is likely to result in him facing physical violence," his attorneys wrote.

They also said that customers of FTX now expect to receive their money back in full from bankruptcy and argued that those customers had always been poised to recover those funds.

“The harm to customers, lenders, and investors is zero," Bankman-Fried’s lawyers wrote.

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com

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