Sam Bankman-Fried’s brother: ‘His life would be wasted in prison’

Must read

Lawyers for Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried included 29 letters of support of clemency for the former FTX CEO as a federal judge prepares to decide his sentence, including recommendations from his immediate family.

In a Feb. 27 filing in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, SBF’s lawyers attached letters from Barbara Fried, Joseph Bankman, and Gabriel Bankman-Fried — the former CEO’s mother, father, and brother, respectively. Perhaps predictably, all three asked for a light sentence for Bankman-Fried’s seven felony charges, delving into the 31-year-old’s childhood, personality, and role at FTX.

“Sam has made mistakes, but his life would be wasted in prison,” said Gabriel. “He has great gifts to offer the world.”

Unlike at trial, where aspects of a defendant’s character may not always be presented as evidence, sentencing ​opens the door to various personal appeals from friends and family members. On March 28, Judge Lewis Kaplan will decide how long Bankman-Fried remains in prison as the former CEO returns to court for one of the last times.

Source: X

Some experts have suggested anywhere from 15 to 25 years may be a possible sentence for Bankman-Fried, whom a jury convicted of wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud and money laundering in November 2023. Though the maximum sentence could land the former CEO in prison for roughly 110 years, this is an unlikely outcome except in extraordinary circumstances.

Bankman-Fried’s father warned against imposing a “draconian sentence,” claiming that prison could present “significant physical danger” to his son, who has trouble responding to social cues. Joseph Bankman’s sentencing letter included claims that his son prioritized making investors whole before his arrest, downplaying any lavish spending.

“He did what he thought he had to do for the good of the company,” said Bankman.

Barbara Fried’s letter of support was the longest out of his immediate family, including claims of “his desire to help others” from his childhood to his time in jail, where she said he has been tutoring inmates for their GED exams. His mother also asked Judge Kaplan to consider Bankman-Fried’s poor response to social cues, claiming that he has been “wracked with remorse” since FTX collapsed in November 2022:

“Being consigned to prison for decades will destroy Sam as surely as would hanging him.”

Related: Crypto users weigh in on Sam Bankman-Fried’s prison time ahead of sentencing memo

The three letters seemingly downplayed the impact of the collapse of FTX on investors and Bankman-Fried’s role in the fraud. Many on social media responded negatively to his family’s claims and other letters of support.

“[T]he people writing letters for leniency in SBF sentencing should take a look at what Billy McFarland of Fyre Festival is doing now, and how much rehabilitation he had while in prison,” said X user Kyle Gibson. “It’s somewhere between ‘not very much’ and ‘zero.’ I full[y] expect SBF if he got out today would go right back to what he was doing.”

Source: X

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have asked Judge Kaplan to consider a sentence of 63-78 months, while prosecutors are expected to submit their recommendations on March 15. The former FTX CEO will celebrate his 32nd birthday in jail on March 6 — his first behind bars since his bail was revoked in August 2023.

Magazine: Can you trust crypto exchanges after the collapse of FTX?

More articles

Latest article