SBF was almost extorted for ‘protection’ in Brooklyn jail, recalls ex-inmate

Sam Bankman-Fried was reportedly worried for his safety during his pre-trial detention time at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center and even considered paying another inmate for “protection,” according to a former inmate. 

New York mob enforcer-turned-informant Gene Borrello told crypto blogger Tiffany Fong in a Nov. 30 interview that spent time with Bankman-Fried in the lead-up to his criminal trial. He said SBF wawas “out of his element” in jail and worried for his safety.

Borrello said during his time there, other prisoners saw the former crypto mogul as timid, having “the body of the 80-year-old,” and was presumed to have access to money.

“He has the body of the 80-year-old. He has, like, no shape to him, you know what I mean?”

A prisoner attempted to make Bankman-Fried fearful to extort him for protection money.

“[The other prisoner] wanted Sam Bankman to feel like ‘this is dangerous in here, you need protection,’” Borrello recalled.

However, Bankman-Fried was housed in a unit of the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center that separated the wealthy and government co-operators from the general prison population, said Borello.

“I kept saying: ‘It’s not dangerous in here. You don’t need protection. Don’t worry about it. You ain’t got to pay nobody nothing. Don’t listen to these fucking kids.’”

Borrello claims he confronted the other prisoner, leading to a fight. Both were put in the jail’s special housing unit — solitary confinement — and Borello claimed he spent 80 days there.

A prison incident report claims Borrello twice struck a prisoner named Kevin Cruz and both were escorted to solitary confinement. Source: Tiffany Fong/YouTube

Borrello recalled speaking to Bankman-Fried, saying, “when he talks to you, he puts his head down, he’s very timid, he talks very nervous.” He also said he asked the former billionaire what he splashed his money on.

“I said: ‘What are you doing with the money? What kind of watch did you have?’ He said, ‘I had an Apple Watch,’” Borrello recounted. “I said: ‘What kind of car were you driving?’ He said: ‘a 2020 Toyota Camry.’”

“Me and my friends go: ‘So what the fuck did you steal the money for? You wanna look at it?’”

Borello opined that Bankman-Fried “can’t go into regulator population” due to his perceived wealth — an estimated $26 billion at its peak — as others will again try to extort him.

SBF didn’t realize ‘how much trouble he was in’

Borrello recounted a conversation he had with Bankman-Fried, who was apparently of the belief that he “was not getting a lot of time.”

“He just didn’t understand how much trouble he was in,” Borrello said. “We were trying to explain to him that this is the feds, you’re accused of stealing billions of dollars […] He just didn’t understand how screwed was until we started breaking it down to him.”

Borrello claimed Bankman-Fried was more nervous about jail than his case and believed he’d spend 20 years in prison.

“We looked at him like he was crazy. I kept trying to explain to him ‘you’re never going to see the outside again.”

On Nov. 2, Bankman-Fried was found guilty of seven counts of money laundering, fraud and conspiracy and faces a maximum sentence of 115 years in jail. His sentencing is scheduled for March 28 and his lawyers are expected to appeal.

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Borello also said he attempted to warn Bankman-Fried that New York Judge Lewis Kaplan, overseeing his case, is the “strictest judge in the Southern District.”

In most cases, judges go with the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation — yet to be filed in Bankman-Fried’s case — “which could be something out of this world,” said Borrello.

“I think it’s bullshit to get that much time,” he added. “There’s no reason to give the guy a hundred years. That’s just insane.”

Borrello called Bankman-Fried’s situation “a glory case” which every prosecutor wants a part of as they wish to become “judges, politicians, analysts [and] big-time federal attorneys.”

“All they care about is glory. He’s the glory case. So he’s fucked.”

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