Former FTX Exec Ryan Salame Requests 18 Months Prison Sentence

The lawyers of Ryan Salame, a former executive of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, who pleaded guilty to his role in the firm’s collapse, have requested that a court sentence their client to 18 months in prison in an upcoming hearing scheduled for May 28.

According to a sentencing memorandum seen by Inner City Press, Salame’s attorneys are asking the court for leniency in the form of the recommended jail term in addition to the restitution and forfeiture obligations to which their client has agreed.

Salame Seeks 18-Month Jail Term

While Salame worked for FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda Research, he handled customer fiat conversions and wire deposits, managed political contributions, and led charitable initiatives using Alameda funds in The Bahamas.

One year after the FTX empire imploded in November 2022, Salame pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the events, including conspiracy to defraud the Federal Elections Committee and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. He also agreed to cooperate with United States authorities alongside his former colleagues Nishad Singh, Caroline Ellison, and Gary Wang.

As part of the agreement, Salame paid a fine of $6 million to the U.S. government and $5 million to FTX debtors, forfeiting two Massachusetts homes and his 2021 Porsche car. The charges the former FTX executive pleaded guilty to could land him up to ten years in prison; however, his lawyers request a jail term of less than two years.

Salame’s attorneys argued in the memorandum filing that their client’s role in FTX was more operational and less related to fraud. They said he did not know that the four core leaders of FTX and Alameda had conspired to lie and steal customers’ funds. The lawyers insisted that Salame did not lie or steal from anyone.

Lawyers Say Salame Was Duped

Furthermore, Salame’s legal counsel cited his cooperation with the U.S. government for the proposed lenient sentence, explaining that he was the first to alert authorities in The Bahamas when he learned about the FTX fraud. They said their client was remorseful and made efforts to deal with his substance abuse issues.

In addition, the attorneys mentioned that Salame was duped and incurred financial losses as a result of FTX’s collapse.

With FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried having been sentenced to 25 years behind bars, which jail term the court would impose on Salame remains to be seen.

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