SBF Just Got 25 Years. How Does That Stack Up Against Other Fraudsters?

Some other white-collar criminals ended up with much more time behind bars. SBF Just Got 25 Years. How Does That Stack Up Against Other Fraudsters? Shutterstock

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

In just a few short years, Sam Bankman-Fried went from Big Tech elite to a cautionary tale about cryptocurrency scams. In total, he defrauded investors out of a combined $8 billion.

This week, the disgraced former head of crypto exchange FTX was sentenced to a total of 25 years behind bars on convictions including fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.

That’s a hefty sentence … but is it more, less, or pretty much on par for such a significant criminal investment scheme? Let’s take a look at a few of the most infamous cases from the past few decades for some context.

  • Bernie Madoff: The man behind the most audacious Ponzi scheme in American history received a staggering 150-year sentence in 2009. In the end, the criminal financier ultimately served a dozen years before dying in prison. But Bankman-Fried’s attorneys dismissed any comparison between the two cases, asserting that Madoff’s clients thought they “were investing in a conservative vehicle” while crypto investors were willing to take bigger risks.
  • Michael Milkin: On the other end of the sentencing spectrum was the so-called “junk bond king,” who was convicted of crimes including securities fraud and tax fraud before receiving a 10-year sentence in 1990. In the end, he was released after just two years and went on to establish a successful charitable organization. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers also cited this case, stating that he would likewise “dedicate his post-prison life to charitable works.”
  • Elizabeth Holmes: The founder of Theranos received an 11-year sentence in 2022 for charges related to defrauding investors in a startup company she claimed would revolutionize blood tests. According to Bankman-Fried’s legal team, the cases were similar because they both were in their 30s when they were sentenced, but claimed that Holmes was “far more culpable” because she “put patients at risk.”
Chris Agee
Chris Agee March 29th, 2024
Share this story: