Sam Bankman-Fried paid jailhouse inmate for haircut using mackerel as currency: report

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Convicted crypto kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly used mackerel fish snacks to pay for a haircut while locked up — the preferred currency for those detained at the notorious high-security Brooklyn detention center. Bankman-Fried — who faces more than 100 years in prison when he is sentenced in March following last month’s conviction for fraud and money laundering in connection with the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX — has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center since August when a federal judge revoked his bail. The Brooklyn jail has long been accused of inhumane conditions exacerbated by persistent staffing shortages, power outages and maggots in inmates’ food. It also bans cigarettes, the traditional item bartered behind bars, forcing the jailbirds to trade goods like the smelly fish snacks, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bankman-Fried, a professed vegan, had stunned observers in court at the start of the trial when he ditched his scraggy hair-do in favor of a neater look. The 31-year-old appears to be making the best of his bad situation. He has been giving cryptocurrency tips to jail guards while being fed vegetarian meals, according to sources cited by the Journal. “Sam’s doing the best he can under the circumstances,” Bankman-Fried’s spokesman, Mark Botnick, told The Journal. The FTX founder, who during the height of his success famously lived in a $30 million penthouse in the Bahamas, shares a jail cell with the former president of Honduras as well as a Mexican law enforcement official suspected of helping the Sinaloa drug cartel smuggle 50 tons of cocaine into the United States. Like other inmates, Bankman-Fried is permitted a non-attorney visitor once a week. He also has access to a specialized laptop computer that limits him to legal material related to his case. Bill Baroni, an attorney who served time in federal prison for his role in the “Bridgegate” scandal, told The Journal that Bankman-Fried’s life will get easier once he is sentenced. At the Brooklyn facility, he has little freedom of movement. His meals are delivered to his cell as he does not have the option of dining with other inmates in a cafeteria-like setting. “When he is sentenced, his life will get better,” Baroni told The Journal. “He’ll be out of the facility with most violent people.”

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