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‘I Never Thought That What I Was Doing Was Illegal,’ SBF Says as He Begins Prison Sentence

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Days after Sam Bankman-Fried received a 25-year prison sentence, the FTX founder released a statement to ABC News saying how sorry he was about his crimes. He says he made some “bad decisions” and didn’t realize that his billion-dollar Ponzi scheme wasn’t illegal.

“I tried to hold myself to a high standard, and I certainly didn’t meet that standard,” he told ABC News via email from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. “It’s most of what I think about each day. I’m haunted, every day, by what was lost. I never intended to hurt anyone or take anyone’s money.”

Bankman-Fried is set to be in jail until he’s 57 years old, though he could see early release if he exhibits good behavior.

Prosecutors originally sought a punishment of 40-50 years for Bankman-Fried’s crimes, which included fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. The founder and CEO was convicted on charges related to the misuse of more than $8 billion of FTX customers’ funds and another $2 billion from investors and lenders. SBF was also found guilty of perjury three times by the judge for lying under oath during his trial.

FTX customers, fortunately, appear to be on the road to repayment. Last week, the company sold its stake in Anthropic, a company developing AI that’s in competition with OpenAI. The proceeds from the deal, if approved, could go to those FTX customers who were defrauded by the company under SBF’s reign.

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