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Family of Sam Bankman-Fried Warns About ‘Extreme Danger’

via CNBC
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Numerous letters were submitted supporting leniency for Sam Bankman-Fried’s sentencing, arguing he has been unfairly vilified.

His parents, a psychiatrist, and a former employee described Bankman-Fried as being on the autism spectrum with an inability to read social cues, putting him in danger of assault in prison.

While convicted for fraud for stealing $8 billion from FTX customers, his lawyer argued he was not the “evil genius” depicted but a first-time non-violent offender.

They urged rejecting a recommended 100-year sentence as “grotesque,” highlighting his parents’ fear for his life and claims he has lost 30 pounds while incarcerated due to an inability to access vegan food.

“It is easy to be cynical about others’ professed motives to do good in the world,” Sam’s mother, Barbara Fried wrote. “It is even easier in Sam’s case, because the only thing the world knows about him is his connection to what has been described relentlessly in the media over the past year as ‘the fraud of the century,’ and his portrayal as a cartoonish villain driven by greed.”

She noted that his character is seen in his dedication to veganism while in custody, “where the absence of vegan food has forced him to live on commissary junk food.” Fried added that he has “lost 30 pounds since he was remanded to prison in August.”

“I genuinely fear for Sam’s life in the typical prison environment,” Fried wrote, noting that his “inability to read or respond appropriately to many social cues” helped to “put him in extreme danger.”

“A draconian sentence would likely lead to a placement in a high (or at best medium) security prison,” Sam’s father, Joseph Bankman wrote. “Such a setting would put Sam in an environment where his responses to social cues will sometimes be seen as odd, inappropriate and disrespectful; when that happens, he will be in significant physical danger. Nothing he has done can justify putting him at that risk.”

Sam is “on the autism spectrum” and has dealt with “life-long depression,” Dr. George Lerner, Bankman-Fried’s psychiatrist stated. “During his house arrest, Sam wrote, ‘There will probably never be anything I can do to make my lifetime impact net positive,’” Lerner wrote. “It is a devastating self-assessment for someone who has devoted his life to improving the welfare of others.”

“Even though twelve out of every fourteen of Sam’s weekly meals are just undercooked rice, a scoop of disgusting-looking beans and week-old brown lettuce, Sam has stayed true to his commitment to not participate in the maltreatment of animals,” former NYPD officer Carmine Simpson wrote.

He added that “Sam is the least physically intimidating person and this is especially noticeable inside a jail.”

“This has and will lead to him being frequently targeted for hazing, harassment, and assault more so than the average inmate,” Simpson said. He noted that Bankman-Fried doesn’t merely have to stress over people “trying to extort or harass him,” but also that “‘jailhouse snitches’ would lie either to the Government, the Media or both regarding him.”

“Sam is not the ‘evil genius’ depicted in the media or the greedy villain described at trial,” his attorney stated. On the contrary, Mukasey noted, Bankman-Fried is a “first-time, non-violent offender, who was joined in the conduct at issue by at least four other culpable individuals, in a matter where victims are poised to recover—were always poised to recover—a hundred cents on the dollar.”

While victims will reportedly recover all losses, his defense sought a sentence of no more than six and a half years given others were also culpable in the matter.

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