- Arthur Hayes is set to be sentenced today at a Manhattan court and for violating the Bank Secrecy Act, he faces a maximum of 5 years behind bars.
- However, he’s unlikely to go to prison, one legal expert claims and he’s more likely to get probation, which is what his legal team has been pushing for.
He was once one of the most powerful, richest, and most influential men in crypto. Today, he will be at the mercy of a New York judge and faces five years behind bars. Arthur Hayes, the former CEO of BitMEX will be sentenced later today, but as one legal expert says, he is unlikely to go to prison for his crime.
Hayes founded BitMEX in 2014 alongside Benjamin Delo and Sam Reed and in a few years, it became one of the biggest Bitcoin derivatives trading platforms in the world, processing over $1 billion in daily trading volume at its peak.
It all started going south for Hayes and his fellow co-founders when US regulators started going after them for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. Established in 1970, the BSA requires all financial institutions in the US to assist government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering.
Hayes would plead guilty to the charges in February this year alongside Delo, with Reed taking the plea shortly after. They each paid $10 million in penalties and Hayes will be the first to be sentenced today.
Violation of the BSA comes with a maximum sentence of five years behind bars, but as one legal expert says, the Miami-born 36-year-old is unlikely to do any time.
Jaimie Nawaday, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York pointed out that first, the Hayes case is the first of its kind and as such, there’s no precedent to borrow from. Hayes is the first person in crypto to be prosecuted for BSA violation, a standard that regulators have not previously held with crypto firms.
BSA charges usually come with 6-12 months sentences, and in most cases, the culprits manage to avoid jail time and end up with probation or a fine, Jaimie, who is the current co-head of Seward & Kissel’s Government Enforcement and Internal Investigations Group told one outlet.
The former prosecutor added:
Given the low guidelines range, to begin with, that it is a novel prosecution, which is one of the things that the defense is right to point out, and that the probation essentially sides with the defense in supporting no jail time at all, I would say it’s pretty unlikely.
US prosecutors have, however, insisted that Hayes must be used to set an example, as CNF reported.