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March 28, 2024

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s 25 Year Sentence Today Sends the Message That Justice Is Coming for the Crypto Crooks

This has to be the beginning not the end of justice for the crypto lawbreakers

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and CEO, issued the following statement in connection with the sentencing of Sam Bankman-Fried:

“Today, justice was served when FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his crimes. If equal justice under law means anything, it has to mean that a vast white-collar crime spree by a rich, privileged, and well-connected elite will be as severely punished as a street criminal without all those advantages and dollars.

“SBF may be an extreme example, but he represents only a difference in degree, not kind, from the rest of the crypto industry. I know. I sat across from SBF for 90 minutes in May 2022 when he tried to convince me to support his so-called crypto ‘innovation,’ which was nothing more than a new way to rip off customers. Today’s sentencing of SBF to 25 years in prison sends a message to the entire industry, especially the crypto kingpins, that the law applies to them, as it must, and that even crypto crooks will do hard time for their crypto crimes.

“Those laws are being intentionally violated every day by innumerable crypto companies.   For example, like SBF, the industry largely refuses to register their securities offerings or to segregate and register their activities as brokers, dealers, exchanges, custodians, and clearing houses. It mostly refuses to follow the laws of segregation of assets, basic customer protections, fiduciary duties, record keeping, eliminating conflicts of interest, and many others, including being examined and supervised by independent regulators. That’s why crypto remains the financial product of choice for criminals worldwide, including for blackmailers using ransomware, money launderers, sex traffickers, terrorists, drug dealers, rogue states, tax evaders, and many others.

“Crypto has been and remains a lawless industry that takes the baseless position that the laws that apply to everyone else don’t apply to them. Even those who are not intentionally stealing customer money blatantly break the law while trying to buy enough politicians to get their special interest legislation passed. That’s possible because their lawbreaking business model that rips off customers and endangers financial stability generates enormous predatory profits, which are spent on lawyers, lobbyists, PR spinners, media campaigns, and political contributions. Those industry practices force regulators and prosecutors to play ‘catch me if you can’ and ‘whack a mole’ while being attacked by the industry’s purchased allies, most notably those in Congress.

“This, however, must be the beginning not the end of the process of bringing the crypto industry to justice. SBF didn’t do any of this alone. In fact, his crimes required the participation and knowledge of dozens if not hundreds of others, many of whom got rich and remain rich from his criminal and other illegal activities. The Justice Department must now prosecute and severely punish SBF’s immediate co-conspirators, even those who pled guilty and testified against him. Then, the prosecutors must pursue everyone else who enabled SBF’s crime spree.

“As important, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York simply must reconsider the decision to drop the campaign finance investigation into the largest criminal conspiracy to violate the U.S. campaign finance laws. While it may be reasonable not to add such charges to SBF given his conviction on other charges, that rationale does not apply to the many others who criminally violated the law. This was an unprecedented, egregious attack on our democracy, and it would be a dereliction of duty for those crimes to go unpunished.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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