Bankman-Fried appeals FTX fraud conviction, 25-year sentence

Fried appeals fraud conviction

Sam Bankman-Fried, convicted of defrauding customers of the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange he founded, has appealed his conviction and 25-year prison sentence.

Defense lawyer Marc Mukasey announced the appeal during Bankman-Fried’s sentencing hearing. Prosecutors labeled the case one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history.

Bankman-Fried’s appeal could be lengthy, with his legal team aiming to convince the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court, that errors by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan deprived Bankman-Fried of his legal rights, rendering the trial unfair.

Although the sentence imposed by Kaplan was shorter than the prosecution’s recommendation, it exceeded the defense’s suggestion.

Bankman-Fried’s sentencing marks a stark turn in his trajectory from a celebrated entrepreneur to a central figure in prosecutors’ efforts to curb excesses in cryptocurrency markets.

Previously valued at $26 billion before his 30th birthday, Bankman-Fried’s wealth dissipated when FTX filed for bankruptcy in 2022 amid concerns of commingled assets with Alameda Research, a hedge fund he also controlled.

Bankman-Fried, arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S., denies allegations of embezzlement.

During the trial, three former associates testified against Bankman-Fried, alleging he directed the use of FTX funds for personal expenses and political donations. Bankman-Fried, in his defense, admitted to misjudgments but denied intentional wrongdoing.

Critics have questioned the disparity between Bankman-Fried’s sentence and that of Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, who faces a maximum 18-month sentence for violating anti-money laundering laws.

Prosecutors argue the cases involve distinct conduct and circumstances.