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Bankman-Fried appeals fraud conviction, 25-year sentence

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried appealed his fraud conviction and 25-year prison sentence Thursday, just weeks after a New York judge handed down his penalty.

The former billionaire crypto leader, who was found guilty of using investor funds to bankroll his lavish lifestyle, will have to appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, as first reported by Reuters.

Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on March 28. Kaplan suggested that there is a risk that the founder “will be in position to do something very bad in the future,” and “it’s not a trivial risk at all.”

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Prosecutors recommended a much longer sentence of 40 to 50 years. His lawyers asked for 63 months to 78 months, arguing the maximum sentence of 100 years would be “barbaric” since investors were expected to get their money back.

Bankman-Fried was convicted in 2023 on federal fraud and conspiracy charges related to his role in the collapse of his crypto company in late 2022. He had support from high-profile celebrities, including athletes Tom Brady and Steph Curry.

The jury swiftly found Bankman-Fried guilty of using depositor funds to bankroll his purchases, including luxury properties and private planes. He also made large political donations, but the campaign finance charges were dropped.

The 32-year-old founder faced several charges over allegations that he defrauded his customers in a scheme that prosecutors said was “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

His downfall began after FTX collapsed last year, and Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December 2022.

His rise to fame came at a time of cryptocurrency interest, and he secured a $22.5 million net worth before he turned 30 and became known as the world’s richest 29-year-old, Forbes reported in 2021.

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