NEW YORK (Diya TV) — The founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, received a 25-year prison sentence for orchestrating a colossal fraud that resulted in the collapse of his exchange and hedge fund. Despite requests for leniency, Judge Lewis Kaplan handed down the sentence, emphasizing the severity of Bankman-Fried’s crimes and their impact on customers and investors.

Bankman-Fried was found guilty on seven criminal counts related to securities fraud conspiracy, with prosecutors estimating losses of around $10 billion for FTX customers due to the fraud scheme. While the sentence was shorter than the prosecution’s request for 40 to 50 years, it far exceeded the defense’s proposal of five to six-and-a-half years.

During the sentencing, Judge Kaplan expressed concern about Bankman-Fried’s potential to cause harm in the future, citing the lack of remorse shown by the defendant. He criticized Bankman-Fried’s trial testimony, describing it as evasive or potentially outright lying. Despite assertions of a liquidity crisis or mismanagement, the judge emphasized the deliberate nature of the fraud.

Bankman-Fried, acknowledging the suffering of customers and expressing regret for his actions, maintained his innocence regarding intentional fraud. He apologized to former colleagues and expressed remorse for squandering the opportunity to uphold FTX’s success, which was once valued at $32 billion.

Prosecutors painted a damning picture of Bankman-Fried’s deception, alleging that he diverted customer funds for personal use, political contributions, and to repay loans. The scale of the fraud, they argued, inflicted significant harm on individuals and undermined trust in financial markets.

Bankman-Fried’s defense emphasized psychological struggles and portrayed him as a hardworking individual who made mistakes but did not intend to harm others. Despite appeals for a lighter sentence, Judge Kaplan remained firm, highlighting the magnitude of the crimes committed.

The sentencing marks the climax of Bankman-Fried’s downfall from a celebrated entrepreneur to a symbol of financial misconduct. His appeal against the conviction and sentence indicates a continued legal battle ahead. Meanwhile, three other individuals implicated in the fraud, Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh and Gary Wang, await their own sentencing.

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the consequences of financial crimes, signaling a stern approach to those who exploit trust for personal gain.