SBF Calls For Reduced Sentence, Lawyers Cite Medical Conditions

By Jody McDonald February 29, 2024 In FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried
  • A court filing shows SBF’s legal team have requested a reduced sentence of between 63 and 78 months, claiming victims will be paid back in full and nobody suffered any harm.
  • An earlier Pre-sentence Investigation Report recommended a sentence of 100 years.
  • SBF’s team also claim the FTX founder is not a threat of reoffending and is, in fact, a kind and community-minded fellow.

According to a court filing submitted Tuesday, lawyers representing FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) have requested a “just” prison sentence of between 63 and 78 months for his multiple fraud convictions. That’s far less than the 100-year sentence which was recommended in a Pre-sentence Investigation Report (PSR). 

SBF’s legal team argued his sentence should be on the lenient side because: all the victims of his crimes will be reimbursed in full; he has a strong record of charitable giving and is unlikely to reoffend; and his medical conditions, which include ADHD and possibly Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), make him more vulnerable in prison.

The filing, which was signed by SBF’s new attorneys Marc Mukasey and Torres Young, described the 100-year sentence recommended in the PSR as “grotesque”, and painted the FTX founder as a relatively harmless bit-player in the crimes, which it characterised as essentially victimless:

Sam is a 31-year-old, first-time, non-violent offender, who was joined in the conduct at issue by at least four other culpable individuals, in a matter where victims are poised to recover—were always poised to recover—a hundred cents on the dollar.

Court filing submitted by SBF’s legal team

The argument for a reduced sentence focussed heavily on the expectation that the FTX bankruptcy estate will be able to pay back all victims in full, claiming that “the harm to customers, lenders, and investors is zero”. 


There is precedent for reduction in sentences in similar financial crime cases where perpetrators have made restitution to victims, although according to US sentencing guidelines these reductions usually only apply when restitution has been made before the crimes are detected.

SBF’s team also argued that far from being the “ice-cold manipulator, bully and shameless liar” he has been portrayed as, the convicted fraudster is in fact a very community-minded and kind-hearted good guy:

Those who know Sam see someone who ‘cares deeply about other people.’ Who exhibits ‘kindness and loyalty.’ Whose ‘heart [is] in the right place.’ Someone who ‘has always been dedicated to doing good in the world.’

Court filing submitted by SBF’s legal team

The filing also included letters of support from some of SBF’s friends and family, including his parents and brother, the former in-house psychiatrist at FTX—George Lerner—and several of his childhood friends, who testified to SBF’s good character.

Interestingly, his fellow inmate and former NYPD Officer, Carmine Simpson, claimed SBF was subject to special attention stating that his physical weakness has led to him being “frequently targeted for hazing, harassment, and assault more so than the average inmate.”

Medical Issues Should Be Taken Into Consideration

A psychiatrist who has evaluated SBF, Hasan Minhas, wrote that he believes the FTX founder meets the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which he said may mean he’d “face an additional set of challenges in prison”. Minhas said that SBF would benefit from access to therapy and close monitoring. This autism diagnosis comes in addition to SBF’s existing ADHD diagnosis.

SBF’s lawyers used the letters of support and medical opinions as evidence to support their contention that he is not someone who needs to be locked away for the rest of his life, and was unlikely to reoffend:

Sam, in short, presents the very opposite of the potential recidivist for whom prison is necessary.

Court filing submitted by SBF’s legal team

The prosecution, for their part, have argued SBF’s sentence should be extended due to several ‘enhancements’ that increase the severity of his offending—such as deleting emails and texts in order to evade law enforcement, and attempting to tamper with witnesses.

The sentencing hearing for this case is set for March 28th.

Jody McDonald

Jody McDonald

Jody is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who specialises in writing about business, technology, and the future of work.

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