Law360 (February 28, 2024, 1:40 AM EST) -- FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried asked a Manhattan federal judge late Tuesday for a sentence that releases him "promptly" after his conviction for stealing billions from customers of the now-collapsed crypto exchange, arguing that federal sentencing guidelines recommend no more than six-and-a-half years in prison.
Bankman-Fried made the request in a memorandum submitted to U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is due to sentence the 31-year-old former crypto executive on March 28. Bankman-Fried was found guilty in November of seven counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, although he maintains his innocence and has vowed to appeal.
According to the filing, a presentence report prepared by the U.S. Probation Department calculated sentencing guidelines that call for a maximum sentence of 1,320 months, or 110 years, with the report recommending a downward variance of 10 years to bring the recommended sentence to 100 years.
But Bankman-Fried asked the court to reject the report's "barbaric proposal," saying the advisory guidelines should put the appropriate sentence range at 63 to 78 months, or 5 years and 3 months to 6 years and 6 months.
Considering the former CEO's "charitable works and demonstrated commitment to others, a sentence that returns Sam promptly to a productive role in society would be sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes of sentencing," the memo states.
Bankman-Fried argues that he is a first-time, non-violent offender and that the report includes an incorrect 30-point increase to the base offense level based on the assumption that the case involved a loss of $10 billion. But the report adopted that $10 billion loss number "without a scintilla of support," the memo states.
Tuesday's filing says that bankruptcy counsel for FTX stated last month that "customers and creditors who can prove their losses are expected to get back all of their money."
"[T]he company was solvent at the time of the bankruptcy petition," the memo asserts. "The money was there — not lost."
"The harm to customers, lenders, and investors is zero," the filing adds, italicizing the sentence for emphasis.
Alternatively, the court could peg customer losses as the estimated cost of collection in the bankruptcy proceedings, according to the memo.
At this point, the total fees incurred by advisors to the unsecured creditors committee is about $57.5 million, the memo states, which Bankman-Fried argued is a much more reasonable estimate of actual loss than the presentence report's estimate of $10 billion.
With that in mind, there should not be a 30-point increase in the guidelines calculation for a loss amount enhancement, Bankman-Fried said.
The memo also highlights Bankman-Fried's "selfless, altruistic" qualities and his commitment to philanthropy, attaching 29 letters of support from his brother and parents; several professors at Stanford University, where his parents work, including the interim dean of Stanford Law School; tech executives; two psychiatrists; and his former personal assistant.
Barbara Fried, an attorney and professor emeritus at Stanford Law, wrote that anyone who tries to "understand him through the lens of 'normal' behavior and motivations is going to misunderstand" her son. She said her son has suffered with depression but has devoted his life to the happiness of others.
For example, when he took a lucrative job as a trader at Jane Street Capital, he gave away more than half his earnings without telling his parents, according to the letter. Even in the six months he has spent in detention, she said her son is running a tutoring session to help fellow inmates prepare for GED exams.
Fried also emphasized that her son is autistic and that she fears for his life in a typical prison environment, where his "inability to read or respond appropriately to many social cues, and his touching but naive belief in the power of facts and reason to resolve disputes, put him in extreme danger."
"If allowed to resume his life, he would do the only thing he has ever cared about: devote the remainder of his natural life to leaving the world a better place than he found it," Fried wrote.
Paul Brest, named the interim dean of Stanford Law last month, wrote that Bankman-Fried is a proponent of a philanthropy theory called "effective altruism," which holds that a person's life "should be devoted to doing as much good as possible."
"Beyond his intellectual contributions, Mr. Bankman-Fried has manifested the philosophy in his own giving and life," Brest wrote, noting that he has donated millions of dollars to effective altruism causes. "Based on his behavior to date, Mr. Bankman-Fried is likely to continue to engage in philanthropy in whatever circumstances he is placed."
The prosecution's sentencing recommendation is due March 15.
Counsel for Bankman-Fried and a representative for the DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Tuesday.
During a month-long trial this past fall, prosecutors said Bankman-Fried drove FTX into bankruptcy by spending $10 billion worth of customer deposits on venture investments, lavish real estate and political donations.
Three of Bankman-Fried's top lieutenants — Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh — testified that the defendant accomplished this scheme by secretly funneling billions of dollars between FTX and his crypto hedge fund Alameda Research.
The defense, meanwhile, said Bankman-Fried made a number of governance mistakes but did not intend to steal from FTX customers. Bankman-Fried himself made this argument from the witness stand, telling jurors that he always believed Alameda could lawfully borrow from FTX and then repay the debts.
The jury ultimately deliberated for just over four hours before finding Bankman-Fried guilty on all counts. He has been detained at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center since August due to alleged witness tampering.
The government is represented by Danielle R. Sassoon, Nicolas Roos, Danielle Kudla, Samuel Raymond and Thane Rehn of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and Jil Simon of the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division.
Bankman-Fried is represented by Marc L. Mukasey, Torrey K. Young, Thomas E. Thornhill, Michael F. Westfal and Stephanie Guaba of Mukasey Young LLP.
The case is U.S. v. Bankman-Fried, case number 1:22-cr-00673, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Zaka stories have been essential to justifying Israel’s all-out war against Gaza, which has killed around 30,000 Palestinians in less than five months. Speaking at the United Nations in December, Zaka deputy commander Simcha Greiniman broke down while describing alleged atrocities. He later told the same stories to a meeting of British parliamentarians.
Even when Western media outlets have questioned Landau, the inquiries were half-hearted. The Times asked Landau “about reports, attributed to him, that children had been beheaded on Oct. 7.” It reported: “Mr. Landau denied making the claim, though he acknowledged sometimes misspeaking in the immediate aftermath of the attack. What he saw himself, he said, was a small, burned body with at least part of the head missing, perhaps severed by the force of a blast. It was unclear, he added, if it was the body of teenager or someone younger.”
While the Times said the statements had been “attributed” to Landau, there is no dispute he said them. He told the stories on camera, and the clips were posted widely online. He told CNN he found “a body, of a 14, 15-year-old. Head chopped off. We were looking around for the head. Couldn’t find it.” On India’s Republic TV, Landau said of beheaded children, “Yes, this occurred. This happened.” He made similar comments to Channel 14 Israel and CBS News. There is no evidence Hamas beheaded children or babies. As The Intercept reported at the time, the Israeli military said it couldn’t confirm the claims just four days after the attack.
Media outlets, including Israeli television news programs, have debunked numerous stories about dead babies, calling them “fictional.”
It is predicted that 2024 will be a difficult year for the whole world.
cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ca/post/16311617
"If nothing changes, a famine is imminent in northern Gaza," WFP's deputy executive director Carl Skau told the UN Security Council, while his colleague from the UN humanitarian office OCHA, Ramesh Rajasingham, warned of "almost inevitable" widespread starvation.
As aid remains blocked from entering northern Gaza by Israeli forces, and only enters the rest of the territory in dribs and drabs, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths last week wrote to the Security Council calling on members to act to prohibit "the use of starvation of civilian population as a method of warfare."
Ukrainian drones smashing into Russian refineries lately seems to be having an effect.
cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ca/post/16279289
Prosecutors allege the accused had discussed a plan to target an Islamic education centre in the city in northern England
Ahmad al-Ghuferi's wife, mother and daughters were killed when a strike hit the home where they sheltered.
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