The Wall Street Journal published an update on the prison conditions of Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder and former CEO of FTX, the November 23.
The newspaper said Bankman-Fried was placed in a dormitory with Juan Orlando Hernández, a former Honduran president who is awaiting trial on charges of accepting bribes from drug traffickers. Both appear to be on good terms: Hernández’s lawyer said the two detainees had “cordial conversations.”
Also in the same unit is Genaro García Luna, a former Mexican police chief who was recently convicted of helping cartels smuggle cocaine into the United States.
The Wall Street Journal added that Bankman-Fried’s difficulties accessing vegetarian meals and ADHD medication in prison have been resolved.
He noted that Bankman-Fried is allowed to see non-lawyer visitors once a week. He also had access to a special laptop to review legal documents, although his use of the computer was limited to a dedicated room with separate desks.
Bankman-Fried spokesman Mark Botnick told the newspaper that the former FTX executive was doing “the best he could under the circumstances.”
Bankman-Fried involved in the prison economy
The Wall Street Journal also said Bankman-Fried traded packages of mackerel with other inmates in exchange for services. He allegedly traded an unspecified quantity of mackerel for a haircut before his trial in November.
Packets of mackerel — individually worth about $1.30 — became de facto prison currency after federal smoking bans eliminated cigarettes as a viable alternative. (Incidentally, another former cryptocurrency convict, Charlie Shrem, commented previously on the economics of the prison mackerel trade.)
Bankman-Fried also provided advice regarding cryptocurrency investing to the guards, according to one of the Wall Street Journal’s anonymous sources.
SBF will be moved after sentencing
Bankman-Fried is currently being held at the Brookyln Metropolitan Detention Center, known for its poor conditions. He will be transferred to federal prison to serve his full sentence. There, he will likely benefit from greater freedom of movement, better educational and recreational resources and companionship with a less violent prison population, according to a prison consultant cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Bankman-Fried was convicted, but has not yet been sentenced, for his role in the FTX fraud. His sentencing is set for March 28, 2024 following a second trial which will focus on accusations of campaign financial fraud and corruption of Chinese officials.
Bankman-Fried’s current maximum sentence is 115 years in prison, although some experts suggest he will be imprisoned for 25 years or less.