Offbeat letter suggests SBF should teach high school math as punishment for crimes
An unusual letter sent to federal court on Jan. 10 suggested an alternative sentence for FTX’s founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.
The letter’s author, Mary McKee of Minnetonka, Minnesota, stated that she has no relationship to Bankman-Fried. She continued:
“Mr. Bankman-Fried certainly seems to be autistic and [it] doesn’t seem like a prison sentence would be of [any] benefit to anyone … It isn’t like he set out to commit fraud like Bernie Madoff, and the people who lost money with him are on the edge of legal laws [sic] themselves.”
McKee went on to note that “someone who commits murder gets a lesser sentence” than the prison term that Bankman-Fried may face.
Though murder can result in a life sentence without the possibility of parole, a 2021 bulletin from the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that the median prison sentence for murder is 17.5 years before release. By contrast, Bankman-Fried faces up to 110 years, and possibly as little as 30 years, in prison.
Could SBF get community service?
McKee also suggested that Bankman-Fried receive an alternative sentence:
“Instead of a prison sentence, can [Bankman-Fried] be directed to teaching a high school math course? Putting his talent to positive use?”
Due to the severity of Bankman-Fried’s convictions — which include five counts of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud — it seems unlikely that his sentence could be entirely replaced by community service.
However, a reduced sentence may be possible. The financier Michael Milken, sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities fraud in the 1990s, ultimately served just 22 months before entering community service. As part of that service, he participated in a school anti-drug program called D.A.R.E.
Bankman-Fried will be sentenced on March 28. It is unclear whether McKee’s letter is included in the docket for reasons related to the defense’s expected arguments for a lenient sentence, but its inclusion is notable.