Sam Bankman-Fried Moved to Oklahoma City Despite Judge’s Request, Complicates Appeal

Bankman-Fried transferred to Oklahoma City despite judge's request to stay in Brooklyn; faces 25 years and $11 billion forfeiture.

By Jack Wilson

5/23, 13:48 EDT
Bitcoin / U.S. dollar

Key Takeaway

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, convicted of FTX fraud, moved to Oklahoma's Federal Transfer Center despite Judge Kaplan's request to keep him in New York.
  • The move complicates his access to appellate counsel as he prepares for his appeal from a temporary detention center.
  • Bankman-Fried may eventually serve his sentence closer to family in California after the transfer period.

Sam Bankman-Fried's Prison Transfer

Sam Bankman-Fried, the convicted mastermind behind the FTX crypto exchange fraud, is being transferred from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, to a temporary detention center in Oklahoma City. This move comes despite a federal judge's recommendation that he remain in New York to facilitate access to his appellate counsel. The Bureau of Prisons website confirmed his current location at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, who sentenced Bankman-Fried to 25 years in prison, had recommended that he stay in Brooklyn until his appeal was fully briefed. Mark Botnick, a spokesman for Bankman-Fried, expressed hope that the Bureau of Prisons would follow the court's recommendation, stating, "We appreciate the court’s consideration, and hope that the BOP will follow the court’s recommendation so that Mr. Bankman-Fried can have access to his appellate counsel."

Bankman-Fried's transfer process could take over a month due to procedural delays. The Oklahoma facility is designated as a transfer center and is only designed to hold inmates for a period of four-to-six weeks. Eventually, he could end up serving the remainder of his sentence at a prison closer to his family in California.

FTX Collapse and Financial Repercussions

Bankman-Fried was sentenced in March for seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. He was also ordered to forfeit $11 billion. The collapse of FTX, once the world's third-largest crypto exchange, in November 2022 was triggered by a CoinDesk report revealing financial instability at its sister company, Alameda Research. This led to a massive loss of investor confidence and the eventual downfall of the exchange.

The FTX debacle has had far-reaching consequences in the crypto market, shaking investor trust and leading to increased scrutiny of crypto exchanges and their financial practices. The case has highlighted the need for more stringent regulatory oversight in the crypto industry to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Ryan Salame's Sentencing

Former FTX executive Ryan Salame is facing a potential prison sentence of five to seven years for his role in the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. Federal prosecutors argue that Salame's crimes, including a significant campaign finance offense and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business that handled over $1 billion, warrant a substantial sentence. Salame's lawyers, however, contend that he should serve no more than 18 months, highlighting his cooperation with authorities and personal circumstances.

Salame, who joined Alameda Research in 2019 and became the CEO of FTX's Bahamian subsidiary in 2021, facilitated customer deposits through a US bank account without proper licensing and acted as a straw donor for political contributions. His plea deal includes forfeiting $6 million in assets, and his sentencing memo features 28 letters from friends and family, including former Alameda Research co-CEO Sam Trabucco.

Management Quotes

  • Mark Botnick, Spokesman for Sam Bankman-Fried:

    "We appreciate the court’s consideration, and hope that the BOP will follow the court’s recommendation so that Mr. Bankman-Fried can have access to his appellate counsel."