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Ahead of sentencing, SBF team argues for 5-6 years in jail because FTX customers will get money back

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While prosecutors are requesting that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried spend 40 to 50 years in prison for his crimes, the defense team is urging the judge to consider a sentence that's roughly 90% shorter.

Bankman-Fried's fate will be announced in Manhattan on Thursday morning by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the monthlong trial in November. Bankman-Fried was found guilty of seven charges tied to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and the roughly $10 billion of customer deposits that went missing.

The hope for Bankman-Fried's team is that Kaplan takes into account the increased likelihood that FTX customers will be able to recoup most, if not all, of the money they lost when the exchange spiraled into bankruptcy in 2022.

Lawyers representing the bankruptcy estate of FTX told a judge in Delaware last month that they expect to fully repay customers and creditors with legitimate claims. Bankruptcy attorney Andrew Dietderich, who works with FTX's new leadership team, said "there is still a great amount of work and risk" ahead in getting all the money back to clients, but that the team has a "strategy to achieve it."

It was a potentially dramatic change in the narrative surrounding FTX's collapse 16 months ago. At the time, it was believed that many thousands of customers — reportedly up to a million — collectively lost billions of dollars that would be unrecoverable due to the lightly regulated and unsecured nature of the crypto industry. Those clients faced the real possibility that the vast majority of their money had evaporated, just like in other cases of hedge funds and lenders that failed during the 2022 crypto winter.

Much of the government's successful case against Bankman-Fried