Crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for crypto-currency fraud. Prosecutors say he stole over $11 billion and described it as one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history.

"This shows several regulators are very serious about a good and well-established, well-secured trading environment for crypto," said Dr. Julian Vogel, an Asst. Professor of Accounting and Finance at San Jose State University. 

Sam Bankman-Fried, 32, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars on Thursday after defrauding crypto investors and customers of over $11 billion. FTX was once the 2nd largest crypto exchange before it collapsed in November 2022. Bankman-Fried has also been ordered to repay his victims. Dr. Julian Vogel is an Asst. Prof. of Finance at San Jose State University.

"Whenever he gets out of prison he will still, for the majority of his life or the remainder of his life, be working to pay back this fine. Which severely limits his ability to do bad in the future, which was one of the judge’s big concerns," said Vogel.   

Federal prosecutors had asked for a 40–50-year sentence while Bankman-Fried’s attorney asked for a sentence of less than 5 1/4 years. White-collar crime Prison Consultant Justin Paperny believes U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wanted to send a message with his 25-year sentence.

"Ten years, five years, 15 years, in my opinion, is plenty of time. When dealing with a quarter-century at great taxpayer expense, it gets in the way of what people should be most concerned about: victims. He should be working and paying that money back," said Paperny. 

Bankman-Fried, whose parents are both law professors at Stanford University, could serve his prison term in a medium-security prison in California. In the meantime, Paperny says Bankman-Fried should be thinking about how he’ll change his life while in prison.

"Having the government articulate that you do not accept responsibility, that you continue to blame other people, that you couldn't care less about the victims. So, I think the takeaway is, if you want to exercise your right to go to trial, that’s fine. Understand how few people prevail and the consequences that follow going to trial," said Paperny. 

Bankman-Fried says he will appeal his conviction and sentencing.