Why Isn’t Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) In Prison For The FTX Fraud?

Jonathan Garner
3 min readDec 5, 2022
Photo by niu niu on Unsplash

Lately, I’ve been hearing a boatload of people asking, “Why isn’t Sam Bankman-Fried in jail, yet?”. Some people even assert that he will never see prison time, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

It’s amusing that some people view the justice system like a cartoon as if it takes 2 seconds to build a criminal case. The reality of the situation is that justice doesn’t take place immediately, at least not usually. And don’t bother citing certain cases like Bernie Madoff who went to prison the next day. That’s because Madoff was already under investigation and turned himself in, which means the SBF case and the Madoff case are nothing alike. Another difference, and another thinking to keep in mind, is that SBF is in the Bahamas. This adds complexity to the case. For the U.S. justice system to get involved, they will need to extradite him.

By the way, SBF IS currently being investigated. Better late than never, but this means it’s fake news to assert that SBF isn’t being investigated: that’s false. But again, people don’t usually just go to prison right away, and trials don’t usually happen right away — look at Enron and Theranos. And even when the trial happens, it’s not like that only takes hours or days. People are watching too much television, and that says more about them than the state of our justice system.

It’s no good to assert that it’s plausible that SBF did nothing wrong: it’s not probable. It’s also no good to cite your personal belief that SBF seems innocent. If you want to be naive, then that’s your right; however, it’s not proof of anything besides the fact that you need to grow up. It’s also no good to say that the simplest explanation is that SBF is dumb rather than a criminal. For one thing, ignorance or stupidity is not an excuse to commit crimes. For another thing, one can’t ignore the specifics of the case and treat simplicity as the ultimate trump card. If anything, the simplest explanation is that SBF is guilty, anyways. If one looks guilty and acts guilty, then they are guilty; SBF looks and acts guilty; therefore, he is. That’s simplicity.

I’m also hearing some people say that SBF will “get off” because of his political donations. I’m sorry, but that’s a terrible argument. Plenty of people with political contributions and connections have gone to prison. But, also, the argument doesn’t even make sense. SBF gave money to politicians, not a judge or prosecutors. In addition, SBF has no money left.

The upshot is that Scam Bankman-Fraud won’t avoid prison time just because some people are ignorant of the justice system (that’s a fallacious argument from ignorance). Neither is it plausible that SBF will avoid prison time for any other reason. Anything is possible, but ‘possibility’ is cheap.

Now, if we are one year out from now and SBF still hasn’t been charged, then one would have a point; however, that is not the current situation. What else do people want? Just be patient and don’t expect everything to happen immediately, particularly when it comes to justice and the legal system.

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Jonathan Garner

Finance/Investing/Economics/Philosophy/Religion blogger. I’m also a Philosophy of Religion blogger:https://jonathandavidgarner.wordpress.com/