Sam Bankman-Fried, convicted last year of stealing from clients of his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has been photographed in prison for the first time.
The former billionaire, 31, appears in the newly published photo taken at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York, where he is locked up while awaiting sentence, which could mean 115 years in prison. He is due to be sentenced next month.
The photo, believed to have been taken on December 17, shows Bankman-Fried sporting a beard alongside five other inmates.
Crypto crime reporter Tiffany Fong He originally obtained the image and spoke with an inmate photographed alongside Bankman-Fried.
The inmate, known as G Lock, described Bankman-Fried as “strange as shit” but considered him a “good guy.”
The photo, believed to have been taken on December 17, shows Bankman-Fried sporting a beard alongside former inmate G Lock, a former gang member.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court on June 15, 2023 in New York
G Lock, former member of the band Blood, said: ‘Sam had a belly and ate well. [Now] He’s skinny as a stick.
‘He’s not showering, he’s not doing anything. He didn’t snitch on anyone, Sam is a gangster.
‘Sam is more gangster than Tekashi69, Sam Bankman was on all ten toes. Tekashi snitched.
“He’s a good guy, he really is.” Weird as shit, he can be weird. But he’s a good guy. It is unclear why G Lock had been imprisoned.
Fong added: “He’s obviously lost some weight and I’ve heard he doesn’t shower much.”
“He’s not as clean-shaven as he used to be, but he’s obviously going through a lot right now.”
Bankman-Fried was found guilty in November on all seven counts of fraud and the jury took less than five hours to reach their verdict.
His conviction last year marked the end of his $10 billion fraud trial linked to the spectacular collapse of his crypto empire in November 2022.
Prosecutors argued that Bankman-Fried built a “pyramid of deception” through FTX and its sister company Alameda Research to “steal” billions of dollars in assets from clients in search of “money, influence and power.”
Sam Bankman-Fried rode a wave of hype around cryptocurrencies and before its collapse in November last year, FTX was worth $32 billion.
Bankman-Fried speaks with her lawyers after the verdict. They later indicated that they intend to appeal
His defense lawyers, who compared the dramatic trial to a movie, argued that the MIT mathematics graduate “never set out to harm anyone” but rather made “mistakes” while running two multimillion-dollar companies.
Bankman-Fried rode a wave of hype around cryptocurrencies and before its collapse in November last year, FTX was worth $32 billion.
She appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine and appeared on stage with Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Bankman-Fried was hailed as the future of finance: the Steve Jobs of cryptocurrencies, who planned to give away his fortune as part of the doctrine of “effective altruism,” as he called it.
But as prosecutors argued in court, he “lied to the world” because in reality he was simply stealing money from FTX customers.
The ‘house of cards’ collapsed in 2022 amid falling cryptocurrency prices and media reports raising questions about how much of the $32 billion valuation was based on FTT, the token itself FTX crypto.
His parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, broke down when the guilty verdict against their son was read.
He was hailed as the future of finance, the Steve Jobs of cryptocurrencies, who planned to give away his fortune as part of the doctrine of “effective altruism,” as he called it.
When customers attempted to withdraw their money, the crypto equivalent of a bank run was created and FTX closed.
Bankman-Fried always maintained his innocence and continued speaking to reporters long after it became clear he was going to be arrested.
Federal prosecutors built their case against him around the testimony of his three top employees, who quickly accepted deals in hopes of obtaining more lenient sentences.
They were Caroline Ellison, CEO of Alameda Research, the precursor to FTX and also his ex-girlfriend, Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, and Nishad Singh, the company’s chief engineer.
During the trial, the court heard that Bankman-Fried grew up in Palo Alto and her mother and father were economics professors at Stanford University.
Former US President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Bankman-Fried pictured at a panel discussion in May 2022
He studied mathematics at MIT, where he met Wang before working at Jane St Capital, a Wall St trading firm, and then founding Alameda in 2017, followed by FTX in 2019.
The company first operated out of a two-bedroom Airbnb in Berkeley, California, before moving to Hong Kong and eventually the Bahamas.
There they built a $30 million office and penthouse where Bankman-Fried lived with nine other people in a strange mix of fraternity-like opulence and squalor.
In his testimony, Bankman-Fried tried to present himself as an eccentric, overworked genius who sometimes slept in beanbags and drove a Toyota Corolla because he thought it made a better image.
He admitted that “a lot of people were hurt” and that he made some “major mistakes,” but strongly denied committing fraud when questioned by his lawyer Mark Cohen.