Ryan Salame Seeks Lenient Sentence, Claims Ignorance of FTX Crypto Fraud in New Filing

News | May 27, 2024 By:

On Tuesday, May 14, 2024, Ryan Salame, former FTX executive, filed a sentencing memorandum in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Salame pled guilty last year to charges related to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business and campaign finance violations.

Salame asserts in his filing that he had no knowledge of the fraud or theft perpetuated by Sam Bankman-Fried and others at the cryptocurrency exchange FTX and trading firm Alameda Research. While he facilitated customer deposits and withdrawals through bank accounts owned by Alameda without proper money transmitting licenses, Salame maintained he sincerely believed he was providing a service to customers.

The memorandum outlines Salame’s background, including his upbringing in rural Massachusetts and accomplishments in school and various jobs. It notes he graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with degrees in accounting and economics. Salame held positions at Circle and founded the non-partisan political action committee GMI, focused on supporting pro-cryptocurrency candidates.

Salame asserts that in 2021, former Alameda general counsel Daniel Friedberg had suggested funding Salame’s political activities with transfers from Alameda recorded as loans, though Salame understood the money was not his. The filing states Salame met with Republican officials and donated to political committees focused on issues like pandemic preparedness and same-sex marriage.

The memo also highlights Salame’s philanthropic efforts, such as purchasing struggling restaurants in his hometown during the COVID-19 pandemic to save jobs. It mentions he founded a scholarship fund through the Digital Asset Fund. While living in the Bahamas as CEO of FTX Digital Markets, Salame mentored locals and ensured their needs were met.

The defense argues a below-guidelines sentence of 18 months is appropriate. It states Salame was unaware of the inner workings and fraud at FTX and Alameda, and he believed his actions assisted customers. The filing aims to demonstrate Salame’s character through letters of support and good deeds. It argues specific deterrence is not needed as Salame has suffered immense consequences and recognizes the seriousness of his crimes. Prosecutors are seeking a stricter sentence within the guidelines range of 3-3.5 years.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.