Former FTX Executive Seeks 18-Month Sentence for Election Fraud Charges

Ryan Salame, a former executive at FTX, has requested an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to election fraud charges in September.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Former FTX Executive Seeks 18-Month Sentence for Election Fraud Charges
© Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Ryan Salame, a former executive at FTX, has requested an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to election fraud charges in September. His attorneys argue for leniency, emphasizing that Salame was not involved in the core fraud orchestrated by FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

According to a sentencing memorandum filed on Tuesday, Salame's nearly complete financial ruin due to the FTX collapse further supports their plea. During his tenure at FTX and its sister company Alameda Research, Salame oversaw wire deposits and fiat currency conversions for FTX customers.

He was also involved in political contributions using Alameda funds and led various charitable initiatives in The Bahamas. His attorneys contend that Salame's responsibilities were primarily operational and not directly tied to the fraudulent activities at the companies.

“He had absolutely no knowledge that the four people at the center of Alameda and FTX had conspired to lie and to steal from their customers. Ryan stole from no one. He did not lie to customers,” his attorneys stated in the filing.

“He was duped…when he finally understood the FTX fraud, he was the first person to blow the whistle to authorities in The Bahamas”.

Personal and Professional Consequences

Salame’s legal team highlights his cooperation with authorities as a mitigating factor.

They note that Salame provided critical information to Bahamian authorities, which sparked their investigation into FTX. Additionally, he handed over documents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office voluntarily, without needing a grand jury subpoena.

Salame’s attorneys also stress his genuine remorse and efforts to address personal issues, such as substance abuse, which have been exacerbated by the collapse of FTX. They argue that the relentless media scrutiny surrounding FTX and Bankman-Fried has already inflicted severe and lasting damage on Salame's personal and professional life.

“The incessant media criticism of FTX and all else within Bankman-Fried’s orbit has ensured [he] will be punished for the rest of his life,” his attorneys wrote. They argue that the legacy of FTX and his association with Bankman-Fried will hinder his future employment prospects, as he will always be viewed through the lens of his involvement with the failed exchange.

Salame's plea for a reduced sentence comes as other former executives of Alameda and FTX, including Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, have also pled guilty to charges. They are seeking plea deals with U.S. authorities to avoid prison time.

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