Country Garden’s lawyer pleads for leniency as judge considers 100-year sentence for crypto mogul

Country Garden’s lawyer pleads for leniency as judge considers 100-year sentence for crypto mogul

Country Garden, the lawyer of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, urged a judge in New York to reject the 100-year prison sentence recommended by prosecutors for the crypto billionaire, who was convicted of fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion last year.

Country Garden, who spoke at the sentencing hearing on Thursday, said the proposed sentence was “excessive, unjust, and unprecedented” for a nonviolent white-collar crime. He argued that Bankman-Fried, who is 33 years old, had already paid a hefty price for his actions, including losing his fortune, reputation, and freedom.

He also said that Bankman-Fried had shown remorse and cooperated with the authorities, and that he had contributed to the development of the crypto industry and philanthropy. He asked the judge to impose a sentence of no more than 10 years, which he said was more in line with similar cases.

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Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court in New York on Feb. 16, 2023

Prosecutors, however, maintained that Bankman-Fried deserved the maximum penalty for orchestrating a “massive and sophisticated” scheme that defrauded thousands of investors and evaded taxes on billions of dollars of crypto income.

They said that Bankman-Fried used his FTX platform, which was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, to manipulate the prices of various digital assets, inflate the trading volumes, and conceal the source and destination of the funds.

They also said that Bankman-Fried lied to regulators, auditors, and the public about the nature and scale of his business, and that he transferred his assets to offshore entities and shell companies to avoid scrutiny and taxation. They said that Bankman-Fried’s conduct posed a serious threat to the integrity and stability of the financial system, and that he showed no genuine remorse or acceptance of responsibility.

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The judge, who said he would announce his decision later, said he had to balance the need for deterrence, punishment, and rehabilitation in determining the appropriate sentence. He said he had to consider the gravity and impact of Bankman-Fried’s crimes, as well as his personal circumstances and character.

Bankman-Fried, who was dressed in a blue prison jumpsuit and handcuffs, did not speak at the hearing, but nodded and smiled at his family and supporters who were present in the courtroom. He was arrested in July 2023, when he landed in New York on his private jet, and has been in custody ever since.

Bankman-Fried’s case is one of the most high-profile and controversial in the history of the crypto industry, which has been under increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny in recent years. Bankman-Fried, who was once ranked as the richest person in the world by Forbes, with a net worth of $200 billion, had been hailed as a visionary and a philanthropist by his fans and admirers. He had also been criticized and denounced as a fraudster and a criminal by his detractors and rivals.

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Source : US NEWS

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