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‘Sam didn’t snitch on anyone’: First image of Bankman-Fried behind bars surfaces

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The first photograph of Sam Bankman-Fried, who committed “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” according to the U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, alongside fellow inmates at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center has surfaced.

The image, obtained by journalist Tiffany Fong, shows the FTX founder rocking unkept hair and a slimmed-down physique.

“[He’s] subsisting on bread and water…sometimes peanut butter,” defense attorneys told a federal judge last August of Bankman-Fried’s condition.

The group picture was permitted as inmates are allowed to take photos around Christmas, Fong reported. The inmate to Bankman-Fried’s right has been identified as a former member of the Bloods gang, G Lock. He told Fong that the former billionaire isn’t showering often, has grown a full beard, and has become “skinny like like a toothpick.”

The former gang member also applauded Bankman-Fried’s reputation among peers—“Sam didn’t snitch on anyone…Sam is a gangster”—before proceeding to plead with President Joe Biden to grant SBF a pardon.

Bankman-Fried, who was found guilty of all seven criminal charges, will remain at MDC until his sentencing on March 28. Lewis Kaplan, the federal judge overseeing his case, revoked his bail in August and sent him to MDC after he leaked private writings from Caroline Ellison—his onetime girlfriend and the CEO of FTX’s trading firm, Alameda Research—to the New York Times.

The MDC houses inmates charged with terrorism, organized crime, and drug smuggling, a report from the Department of Justice shows. Inmates at the facility include a former president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, who’s pleaded not guilty to drug-trafficking charges, and Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman who’s pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

The MDC has been scrutinized by politicians and activists for poor conditions. An investigation by watchdog group American Oversight uncovered excessive force, delays in medical care, and sanitation issues. A federal agency investigated a weeklong power outage that left more than 1,600 inmates in freezing temperatures and without the ability to speak with their lawyers. 

At 32 years old at the time of his sentencing, Bankman-Fried could face up to 110 years behind bars, according to New York sentencing guidelines.

He’s “likely to be sentenced to decades in prison,” Jeff Leavitt, an attorney with Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton told Fortune. Bankman-Fried misappropriated billions of dollars of customer deposits in a “Madoff-esque fashion” and showed limited remorse when convicted at trial instead of pleading guilty, Leavitt added.

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