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Sam Bankman-Fried seeks lenient sentence, points to FTX fund recovery

FTX founder Sam Bankman Fried’s lawyer said Tuesday that FTX customers have lost their money following his client’s conviction for stealing $8 billion from customers of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange. He urged the judge to give him a lenient sentence, arguing that he would receive most of the money back.

In submitting the sentence, attorney Mark Mukasey told U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that the guidelines range from five years and four months to six-and-a-half years is an appropriate prison sentence. Mr. Mukasey’s proposal is significantly less than the maximum sentence of 110 years he could receive after a jury found him guilty of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in November.

Bankman Freed, 31, maintains his innocence and plans to appeal his conviction and sentence. He acknowledged that FTX was mismanaged, but he never intended to steal funds from customers, he testified at trial.

Kaplan is scheduled to sentence Bankman Fried on March 28.

Sam Bankman Freed convicted of fraud

Lawyers for FTX founder Sam Bankman Freed on Tuesday asked a judge to give him leniency after his conviction for stealing $8 billion from customers. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Mukasey’s submission was accompanied by letters of support from Bankman-Fried’s parents, psychiatrists and others.

The former billionaire’s parents, Stanford University law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, said their son was not interested in material wealth and was charged with fraud a month after FTX’s collapse in November 2022. He said he was working hard to return money to his customers until he was arrested.

Joseph Bankman said, “Barbara and I … saw him single-mindedly focused on getting money back to his depositors, long after he had any chance of saving any of his stocks or assets.” I witnessed it with my own eyes,” he wrote.

Mukasey called the scope of the 100-year guidelines set by probation officials “barbaric” and argued that they were based in part on false claims that FTX customers had lost billions of dollars. .

FTX and Sam Bankman Freed Trial: Players

Sam Bankman Freed entering the courtroom

Sam Bankman Freed admitted that FTX was mismanaged, but testified at trial that he never intended to steal funds from customers. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images)

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The lawyer argued that Bankman Freed had no intent to steal and cited the company’s recent assertion that it plans to fully repay all customers.

“The conviction does not mention whether Sam intended to repay the money. He did,” Mukasey wrote.

The probation officer’s calculations are not binding on Kaplan, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is expected to make its own sentencing recommendation by March 15.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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