Former FTX Exec Sentenced for 'Astonishing' Crimes

Ryan Salame handled illegal campaign contributions for Sam Bankman-Fried
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2024 3:16 PM CDT
SBF Deputy Gets More Than 7 Years
Ryan Salame, 30, who was a high-ranking executive at FTX for most of the exchange's existence, leaves federal court in New York, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Neumeister)

One of Sam Bankman-Fried's top deputies at collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX was sentenced Tuesday—and US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan gave Ryan Salame a stiffer sentence than prosecutors had asked for. Calling the 30-year-old's crimes "astonishing," Kaplan sentenced him to 7.5 years in federal prison, the New York Times reports. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of five to seven years, while defense lawyers requested a sentence of 18 months after Salame pleaded guilty in September to violations of campaign finance law and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business, reports CNBC.

Salame admitted that he was a "straw donor" who made illegal campaign contributions at Bankman-Fried's direction in an effort to shape government policy on cryptocurrencies, the AP reports. Bankman-Fried publicly donated to Democrats, while Salame, using funds supplied by his boss, handled donations to Republicans. Prosecutors described the case as "one of the largest ever" election finance violations, per the Times.

Kaplan said a long sentence was necessary to show "the consequences of perverting our electoral system and its rules." The judge—who sentenced Bankman-Fried to 25 years in March—also slammed Salame for pulling $5 million out of FTX as the exchange was failing, reports the AP. "You tried to withdraw tens of millions more," Kaplan said. "It was me first. I'm getting in the lifeboat first. To heck with all those customers." Three other former FTX execs are awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to financial crimes connected to the exchange's collapse and cooperating with prosecutors. (More FTX stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.