Former FTX Executive Ryan Salame Sentenced to 7.5 Years in Prison for Role in Crypto Exchange Collapse

News | May 29, 2024 By:

On Tuesday, May 28, 2024, Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that former FTX executive Ryan Salame was sentenced to 7.5 years in federal prison by United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan for his role in the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX in 2022.

Salame, 30, had pleaded guilty last year to two criminal charges related to his work at FTX – making illegal campaign contributions and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. As one of the top executives at FTX, holding the title of co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, Salame helped lead the company for most of its existence and worked closely with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

According to evidence and testimony presented at earlier proceedings, Salame and Bankman-Fried worked together to conceal weaknesses in FTX’s financial position and use the company to make political donations that would benefit the cryptocurrency industry. Some of the funds Salame donated to Republican candidates and organizations actually originated from Bankman-Fried.

In issuing his sentence, Judge Kaplan chastised Salame for his actions during FTX’s collapse, noting that as the company failed, Salame tried to withdraw $5 million of his own cryptocurrency holdings for personal gain. The judge said this showed Salame was primarily concerned with saving himself rather than FTX’s customers. However, Salame had cooperated with prosecutors and provided documents that supported their case against Bankman-Fried.

Three other former FTX executives, Caroline Ellison of Alameda Research, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh also pleaded guilty and cooperated with investigators. They are still awaiting their sentences, but due to their cooperation may receive lesser punishments than Salame.