Sam Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison on charges he organized ‘one of the biggest financial frauds in American history’

Sam Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison if he’s convicted on all eight charges filed by the US Department of Justice on Tuesday — though he’s unlikely to be sentenced to that long a term. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have been working “around the clock” to unravel what happened in “one of the  biggest financial frauds in American history,” Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said during a press conference. The SEC and the CFTC sued Bankman-Fried separately on Tuesday for his alleged role in the collapse of FTX.  White-collar defendants, if convicted, rarely serve statutory maximum sentences.

“Fraud is fraud,” FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge Michael Driscoll said in the press conference. “It does not matter the complexity of the investment scheme, it does not matter the amount of money involved.”  

Bankman-Fried, 30, was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday and is accused of misusing billions of dollars in customer money to prop up his Alameda Research crypto fund and influence US public policy, Williams said. The FTX founder faces two counts of wire fraud, two of wire fraud conspiracy and  one of money-laundering charges, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, the DOJ said in a statement. He’s also charged with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud the US and commit campaign finance violations, each carrying a maximum five-year term.

Congress sets the statutory maximum terms, but a judge will ultimately determine the length of the sentence. 

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