Attorney for Bernie Madoff said FTX’s Bankman-Fried risks “many, many years in jail”

Ira Lee Sorkin, the attorney who defended Bernie Madoff, the culprit of the biggest individual Ponzi scheme, has warned FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) that he might face a lengthy prison sentence if proven guilty.

According to Sorkin, Bankman-Fried is expected to face more charges, since co-conspirators in the FTX collapse would likely be detained in the following days, he said in a December 14 interview with CNBC.

As the charges are for conspiracies, there is a great likelihood that other criminals will be apprehended after the investigations are concluded, he said. However, the attorney pointed out that several circumstances would affect SBF sentencing. 

“However, the presence of several conspiracies leads me to feel that this inquiry is far from complete….>” It is improbable the defendants will get the maximum penalty. But the maximum sentence for mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy is twenty years. And judges will, of course, consider many factors when determining a sentence, none of which we are aware of at this moment. But he faces many years in jail,” he continued.

Interestingly, Bankman-Fried was arrested only one day before coming before the United States Congress, and Sorkin speculated that the arrest was intended to prevent SBF from escaping. According to the attorney,

“I’m thinking, absolutely speculating, there was some conversation perhaps that he was secreting money around the globe in various countries that he was going to skip to that didn’t have a strong extradition pact with the United States,” the source said.

After the collapse of FTX, Bankman-Fried went on a series of media tours to explain what transpired. In general, the former CEO of FTX has denied any culpability in the incident, claiming he was taken off guard by the situation.

Sorkin had urged Bankman-Fried in an earlier Finbold report against speaking publicly about the issue. The attorney said that the media tours would not significantly alter the public’s opinion of SBF’s participation in the FTX collapse.

Bankman-Fried was arrested and accused in the Bahamas, with U.S. authorities charging he employed a conspiracy to defraud FTX’s clients by misappropriating their funds to pay bills and obligations in order to make investments for his cryptocurrency hedge fund, Alameda Research.

In his first-ever audio interview, Bankman-Fried said that the FTX collapse was not the result of a liquidity shortage, but rather a “huge correlation of items during a free market move.”

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