BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes’ legal team hopes a letter from his mom will get him out of serving jail time for violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
In a sentencing request submitted by Hayes’ lawyers on Thursday, he asks a federal judge to sentence him to probation without home detention or community confinement and to allow him to travel freely and live abroad.
The request — comprising a 65-page bundle of letters and photographs — was sent to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (NYSD).
In the bundle, addressed to Judge John G. Koeltl, Hayes’ attorneys claim the former crypto chief is “exceptionally talented” and has a “bright future ahead of him.” In making a case for jail-free probation they claim his financial success has “not changed his essential nature.”
The submission also included a letter from his mother, Barbra Hayes, who appealed for leniency at her son’s sentencing scheduled for May 18.
“After considering all I have provided on Arthur’s character, the fact that he provides so much support and inspiration to communities locally/globally, and that Arthur has no prior record, I am asking that you have mercy on Arthur and sentence him to probation,” she wrote.
As well as detailing his personal history from childhood to his time at BitMEX, Hayes’ attorneys included in the request a slew of choice quotes from 10 character references supplied by friends, former colleagues, and even the family dentist.
One letter from a former colleague and roommate includes two pictures from Hayes’ time working in Hong Kong.
Hayes’ mother may not be able to save him
In February, Hayes and co-founder Ben Delo plead guilty to violating BSA laws, specifically failing to implement proper anti-money laundering (AML) protocols. Former chief tech officer Samuel Reed entered a similar plea the following month and all three agreed to pay a $10 million fine.
Reed’s plea followed an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the case on the basis that authorities were bringing a “test case” against him which violated his rights to due process. While the guilty pleas avoid a trial, they could each still face a jail term of between six and 12 months according to federal guidelines.
BitMEX’s first employee, Gregory Dwyer was also indicted but he’s refusing to fess up quite so easily. Dwyer currently maintains his innocence and his trial was postponed until October 2022 while he battled an attempt to extradite him from Bermuda.
In August, BitMEX reached a settlement with FinCEN and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over similar charges. A legal representative for Delo said the $100 million payout combined with earlier fines wiped out the crypto derivatives exchange’s profits.