- The term for the currently incarcerated crypto crook could be more than 100 years, of which an Ivy League law professor said he will likely serve 50
- The theorized sentence comes a week after the 31-year-old was found guilty of seven counts of fraud in federal court for stealing from thousands of customers
- It also follows a whirlwind trial federal linked to the spectacular collapse of his crypto empire, which served to captivate the world due to the scale of his crimes
Sam Bankman-Fried‘s fraud trial may have concluded with convictions across the board – but his sentencing remains up in the air.
The term for the currently incarcerated crypto crook could be more than 100 years, of which a seasoned Ivy League law professor on Saturday said he will likely serve half a century.
The theorized sentence comes a week after the 31-year-old was found guilty of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in New York federal court, for stealing more than $10billion from FTX‘s thousands of customers and investors.
It also follows a whirlwind trial federal linked to the spectacular collapse of his crypto empire, which served to captivate the world due to the scale of his now-confirmed crimes.
Speaking to The New York Times‘ finance outfit Dealbook, Columbia University law professor John Coffee explained why he feels Bankman-Fried’s funneling of clients’ money into his own spending will ultimately warrant the 50-year sentence.
‘If you’re going to deter, you have to reach an audience,’ said Coffee of the prospective sentence, adding it would be enough to send a message to other would-be fraudsters and deter future crimes.
Coffee, widely considered an expert on ‘white-collar’ crime, went on to add how the judge presiding over the trial, the Southern District’s Lewis Kaplan, was known to be ‘very fair,’ but also – in his words – not ‘overly lenient.’
With this in mind, the professor said Bankman-Fried could conceivably serve 50 years given his age and the extent of his economic misdeeds, which he claimed is only second-worst to that of Bernie Madoff.
Madoff, who died in prison in 2021 aged 82, was sentenced to 150 years in 2009, after being found guilty on 11 criminal counts of fraud to the tune of $64billion.
While the dollar amount is more than the number linked to Bankman-Fried, it was accumulated over the course of 30 years – a timeframe that began before the FTX boss was even born.
Bankman-Fried’s crimes, while committed in a fraction of the time, were more pronounced and, in many ways, made on an even greater scale, explained Coffee, citing the billions of dollars stolen in the four years comprising FTX’s founding and spectacular fall.
The man whose expert opinion is regularly sought by The Times, The Wall Street Journal and other big name publications that typically report on finance-fueled crimes further added how he considers Madoff’s sentence unjust, due to his age.
Citing how the harshest judgment ever dished out to a financial fraudster was not even servable given Madoff’s age at the time, Coffee said that jurists this time around now have the chance to not only provide a precedent, but dish out a sentence that fits the crime.
The Yale grad then cited how Bankman-Fried’s case – which he said is more serious than the one that saw Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes slapped with an 11-year sentence this past year – has garnered just as much media coverage as Madoff’s, meaning millions will be waiting to hear his punishment when it’s announced early next year.
Coffee said it will provide feds a unique opportunity to use whatever sentence dished out to champion future deterrence – something he said would not be possible with a sentence of less than 20 years.
That said, Bankman-Fried is not scheduled to be sentenced until March 28, at which point Kaplan – who presided over the first case in which charges against Guantanamo captives were laid in a civilian court and a number of racketeering cases against known New York Mafia members – will decide how many years in prison, if any, Bankman-Fried will be dealt.
The fallen crypto-king’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, recently said they will continue to ‘vigorously fight the charges’ even after a jury convicted his client on all charges after four hours of deliberation and months of hearings last week.
Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried’s parents, a pair of law professors at Stanford, said they are still sticking by their son and were seen visiting him at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center where he is being kept until his sentencing.
The tenured teachers, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, are now being sued by their son’s now-defunct company for allegedly profiting handsomely from his son’s crypto empire.
They were seen crying in court last week after the FTX founder was found guilty of embezzling $10billion of his clients’ money in what experts like Coffee have unanimously agreed is one ‘one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.’ .
They have not been criminally charged in connection to the case.
In total, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison. He will remain incarcerated until his sentencing, fed said.