Sam Bankman-Fried could get out of prison by 2036

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has filed an appeal against both his conviction and subsequent 25-year prison sentence handed down by Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The appeal was filed on Thursday to challenge the outcomes of a trial that found him guilty on seven criminal counts related to fraud, as stated in court documents.

The appeal was expected by several legal experts, and it follows Bankman-Fried’s sentencing on March 28. Judge Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried to repay up to $11 billion to cover investor and lender losses, citing perjury during the trial and acknowledging the defendant’s awareness of his wrongful actions.

During his sentencing, Bankman-Fried conceded to making “selfish decisions,” attributing the loss of customer funds to a “liquidity crisis” exacerbated by FTX staff’s mismanagement. His sentencing culminated from a jury’s verdict in November, which concluded Bankman-Fried was responsible for orchestrating what prosecutors have termed “likely the largest fraud in the last decade.”

The defense has since highlighted Bankman-Fried’s remorse and concerns over his safety within the prison system. In consideration of these factors, Judge Kaplan recommended Bankman-Fried’s incarceration in either a medium- or low-security facility near the California Bay Area to mitigate risks of aggression from other inmates due to his high-profile status and wealth.

Further, Bankman-Fried’s legal team requested that he be allowed to remain at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn during the appeal process.

The sentence was nearly half of what was initially sought by prosecutors, but still ranks high among prominent white-collar fraud cases. In comparison, Bernard Madoff received a 150-year sentence for a Ponzi scheme, while Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to just over 11 years.

Despite there being no parole in federal cases, Bankman-Fried could reduce his sentence to as low as 12.5 years through the First Step Act, which allows for sentence reduction for nonviolent federal inmates. Although the legislation originally aimed to reduce prison time for minority offenders, it has benefited white-collar criminals as well.

Furthermore, Judge Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried to forfeit $11.02 billion, a sum that will likely include all of his available assets. Despite the vast number of victims involved, no restitution will be pursued due to practicality concerns.