BitMEX co-founder Benjamin Delo received 30 months probation without home confinement for Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations.
The sentencing closes a legal chapter that began in the fall of 2020, when the US accused Delo and co-founders Arthur Hayes and Samuel Reed of "evading US anti-money laundering requirements" in activities related to their crypto exchange, BitMEX. Both Hayes and Delo went on to plead guilty to one count each of violating the BSA, which carries a maximum of five years in prison.
Hayes evaded jail time, but received six months home detention as part of a two-year probationary period. Hayes will be permitted to travel to his home in Singapore for the remainder of his probation once the six-month home detention sentence is served in the US.
At today's hearing, Judge John G. Koeltl sentenced Delo to 30 months probation without home confinement. The sentencing resolves all of Delo's regulatory cases relating to BitMEX.
"Ben is pleased to finally draw a line under this matter and looks forward to returning his focus, time, and energy to his philanthropic work," said a spokesperson from Smith Villazor, representing Delo.
Ahead of his sentencing, his legal team submitted a letter requesting a probationary sentence to be served in Hong Kong, where Delo resides, with no fine or jail time. Both Hayes and Delo have already paid $10 million each in civil monetary penalties to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as part of a parallel civil action against them.
In both cases, the prosecution sought harsher sentences than what was administered. In Hayes' case, the DOJ called for more than the 6-12 months of jail time that normal guidelines recommend, though Hayes' team requested probation only. In Delo's case, it argued there should be parity between the sentences of the co-founders, and called for Delo to receive the same sentence as Hayes: two years' probation with six months' home detention in the US. The judge ultimately would not agree, declining to include home detention in the sentence.
"We are pleased that the Court appropriately rejected the government’s cynical attempt to exaggerate the seriousness of the Bank Secrecy Act charge in this case," said a spokesperson from Smith Villazor, representing Delo. "Today’s sentence of probation recognized that this case involved a compliance lapse that led to a regulatory violation – and nothing more."