Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, finds himself in a starkly different environment from his luxurious upbringing, now spending his third night behind bars at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) alongside 1,500 other inmates. The drastic change in circumstances came after his bail was revoked in an August 11 hearing, where Judge Lewis Kaplan deemed the MDC far from a five-star facility.
The MDC is a federal administrative detention center in New York designed to hold around 1,000 individuals under federal custody. However, it currently houses over 1,500 inmates, reflecting its notoriety for being embroiled in scandals involving inmate mistreatment and corruption.
Bankman-Fried’s expected stay of at least two months at the MDC, as he awaits his criminal trial, comes with a backdrop of controversy. The prison has faced issues ranging from a week-long power outage causing inadequate heating during winter 2019 to allegations of inmate mistreatment and misuse of power by guards. Reports emerged of inmates non-violently protesting their conditions, only to face retaliatory measures such as pepper spray and solitary confinement.
The MDC has housed various high-profile figures, including artists like 6ix9ine, R. Kelly, and Fetty Wap. Notable personalities such as Martin Shkreli, dubbed “pharma bro,” and Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of aiding Jeffrey Epstein in sex trafficking, have also spent time at the facility.
Until recently, Bankman-Fried had been on bail, confined to his parents’ lavish $4 million home in Palo Alto, complete with five bedrooms and a pool. The decision to revoke his bail followed a leak of a diary belonging to former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, which depicted her thoughts about Bankman-Fried and her role in the company. Prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried leaked the diary to undermine Ellison, a witness in his trial, and intimidate her.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers refuted the allegations, asserting that his interaction with reporters was within his rights to offer fair commentary on an ongoing article. They have appealed the judge’s decision to revoke his bail, adding another layer of complexity to his current predicament. As he navigates the challenges within the MDC, Bankman-Fried’s case remains intertwined with the broader issues surrounding the facility’s conditions and the ongoing legal proceedings.