01 December 2023
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), previously a key figure in the crypto sphere, encountered a stark contrast to his past life at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn. Gene Borrello, a past mob enforcer for the Bonanno crime family, shared insights with journalist Tiffany Fong about the daily challenges SBF faces in prison. Borrello’s revelations paint a picture of SBF grappling with threats of extortion and bouts of depression.
Once a prominent name in the digital currency arena, ex-FTX boss SBF‘s transfer to MDC Brooklyn signified a dramatic shift in his life. As per Gene Borrello’s interview, the initial phase of SBF’s incarceration included suicide watch, a severe adjustment for him, given his inexperience with prison culture.
SBF’s concerns for his personal safety have been central to his prison experience. Borrello disclosed that SBF thought about securing protection within the facility. His financial status made him a target for extortion among other detainees. Another inmate warned SBF about the alleged peril, heightening his fear, although Borrello reassured him that the danger was not as severe as “these kids” made it out to be. A violent incident ensued when Borrello confronted an individual intimidating SBF, leading to Borrello’s solitary confinement for 80 days.
SBF’s physical and emotional state sharply contrasted with the typical prison environment, according to Borrello’s testimony. Described as physically weak and timid, SBF found it challenging to acclimate to his new setting. Conversations with Borrello and other inmates exposed SBF’s limited grasp of his legal predicament and the gravity of his charges. His naivety about incarceration and the federal legal system became evident in these discussions. This follows another account of SBF utilizing mackerel packets as currency within the prison to trade for a haircut.
As SBF potentially faces life imprisonment, speculation about his future in the federal penal system grows. Borrello also informed Fong that he had advised SBF about the stern reputation of New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan and the Southern District prosecutors’ penchant for high-profile cases like SBF’s. Borrello underscored the widespread recognition of SBF within the prison, stating that his notoriety meant he couldn’t be placed in the general population, as he “wouldn’t last.”
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