SBF Will Likely Serve Less Than His Full 25-Year Sentence

Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud involving his crypto exchange, FTX, and its sister company, Alameda Research.

Some reports suggest that the former FTX leader won’t serve his full sentence. One estimate from Christopher Zoukis, a federal prison consultant, suggests that Bankman-Fried could serve just 18.5 years of his prison sentence.

Zoukis told Fast Company that Bankman-Fried’s time in prison prior to sentencing will take 7.5 months off his sentence. Plus, an automatic reduction for good behavior will likely remove 45 months from the sentence. Bankman-Fried could further earn a one-year reduction through a program called Earned Time Credits.

Finally, Bankman-Fried may be able to enter a halfway house for nine months toward the end of his sentence and spend the last six months under home confinement.

However, that estimate is just one possibility. Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN that Bankman-Fried may serve as little as 12.5 years in prison.

Jordan Estes, another former federal prosecutor, told CNN that a provision could reduce Bankman-Fried’s sentence for extraordinary and compelling reasons, especially medical reasons. Bankman-Fried’s reliance on medication and a vegan diet has been a key issue throughout his incarceration, but it is unclear whether those issues could qualify for that provision.

Appeal Is Unlikely to Succeed

Apart from those possible reductions, Bankman-Fried and his lawyers plan to appeal the sentence and can do so within 14 days.

However, most reports suggest that this appeal is unlikely to be successful based on developments so far. Before sentencing, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers asked for a five- to six-year sentence — in part due to the fact that FTX customers are expected to receive most or all of the funds that they lost in the exchange’s collapse.

The half-decade sentence sought by defense lawyers is extremely low. Federal sentencing guidelines recommended more than 100 years in prison, while prosecutors sought a 40- to 50-year sentence.

The current 25-year sentence shows that the judge’s sentence is already lenient. This will likely challenge Bankman-Fried’s legal team.

Bankman-Fried’s appeal could presumably address other factors aside from the length of the sentence, such as the choice of prison, conditions and security level, or an $11 billion forfeiture that he must pay. However, this is only speculative, as lawyers have not filed an appeal at the time of writing.

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