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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Disgraced Cryptocurrency Sam Bankman-Fried Using Rice as Currency in Prison

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NEW YORK, USA – Sam Bankman-Fried, once a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world, is now navigating a new reality within the confines of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn following his conviction for one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history.

In his first in-person prison interview since his sentencing, Bankman-Fried spoke with William D. Cohan of Puck about his life behind bars and his steadfast assertion of innocence.

He was convicted in November on charges including wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy and later sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Bankman-Fried told Cohan, under strict interview conditions devoid of any recording devices or note-taking tools, about his daily routine and the makeshift currency system that has taken shape around him.

The former CEO of FTX explained that he primarily survives on beans and bags of rice that he purchases from the prison commissary.

Interestingly, he noted that rice has become a sought-after commodity among inmates, often used for bartering.

Reflecting on his physical and environmental conditions, Cohan observed that Bankman-Fried appeared to have lost 25 pounds but seemed fitter than before.

Bankman-Fried attributed his weight loss to the poor quality of the vegan meals provided, which he and other inmates find inedible.

Despite the harsh realities of prison life, Bankman-Fried expressed no concerns for his safety.

He resides in a unique section of the prison predominantly housing female inmates, though his particular ward is a large room filled with bunk beds for 35 men, many of whom are cooperating witnesses in murder cases.

The tech entrepreneur spends his days in communal settings, surrounded by four televisions playing different channels, though he personally prefers to use a tablet for playing games or watching movies.

He assured Cohan that he has not been subjected to abuse, though he often finds himself pestered by other inmates interested in his rice during the night.

Amidst adapting to prison life, Bankman-Fried remains focused on his legal battles, firmly stating his intent to appeal his conviction.

His claims of innocence stand in stark contrast to the views of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, who labeled Bankman-Fried’s actions as “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

Responses from the Federal Bureau of Prisons regarding Bankman-Fried’s incarceration conditions were not immediately available, and his legal representation, including the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, has declined to comment.

Meanwhile, FTX has announced plans to reimburse its customers, potentially turning a new page in the ongoing saga of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange.

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