How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Sentence Compares With Different White-Collar Circumstances

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By Stacy Connor

Two years in jail for tax and securities violations. Eleven years for deceiving buyers. A 150-year sentence for the most important Ponzi scheme in historical past.

The nation’s most infamous white-collar fraudsters — like Bernie Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes — have obtained a variety of punishments for his or her crimes, from comparatively quick jail phrases to successfully a life sentence.

On Thursday, Sam Bankman-Fried, the onetime cryptocurrency mogul, joined their ranks, receiving a 25-year sentence for fraud, conspiracy and cash laundering.

Mr. Bankman-Fried was convicted of stealing $8 billion from prospects of his worldwide crypto alternate, FTX — expenses that carry a most sentence of 110 years. In authorized filings, prosecutors cited 13 examples of white-collar prosecutions that concerned a lack of greater than $100 million. In all however two of these circumstances, the defendant was sentenced to 40 years or extra.

Right here’s how Mr. Bankman-Fried’s sentence compares with penalties confronted by different high-profile white-collar criminals.

Mr. Milken, as soon as often called the “junk bond king” of Wall Road, was sentenced to 10 years in 1990 for securities fraud, tax fraud and different crimes. He in the end served solely two years, a reward for his cooperation with the authorities. After his launch, Mr. Milken began a philanthropic profession, elevating cash for most cancers analysis and different causes.

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“Milken’s two-year sentence gave him a second probability,” Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals wrote in a current court docket submitting. “Given the identical probability, Sam would dedicate his post-prison life to charitable works, discovering the very best methods to assist others.”

Mr. Skilling, the previous chief govt of Enron, was initially sentenced to 24 years in jail in 2006 for his position within the vitality large’s collapse, however that punishment was decreased after an attraction. He finally spent 12 years in jail.

Mr. Madoff, a Wall Road financier, orchestrated what’s thought to be the most important Ponzi scheme in historical past and was sentenced to 150 years in jail in 2009. He was in his 70s on the time of the sentencing and died in jail 12 years later.

In a court docket submitting, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals sought to distinguish the FTX case from Mr. Madoff’s fraud.

Mr. Madoff’s prospects have been “a good community of households and pension funds that believed they have been investing in a conservative automobile,” the legal professionals wrote. “The crypto investor/dealer has a really totally different danger profile.”

Ms. Holmes, the founding father of the blood-testing start-up Theranos, was sentenced in 2022 to barely greater than 11 years in jail for deceiving buyers in her firm. Ms. Holmes reported to jail in Could, just a few months after her thirty ninth birthday.

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In a sentencing submitting, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals pointed to “parallels” between him and Ms. Holmes, together with their relative youth. However Ms. Holmes “is definitely much more culpable,” the legal professionals wrote. “She put sufferers in danger.”

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