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As per the penalty structure for insider trading and wire fraud, Nikhil Wahi could face up to 40 years in prison.
In the latest development on Tuesday, February 7, a former product manager at Coinbase – Ishan Wahi – pleaded guilty to wire-fraud-related criminal charges. Last year in July 2022, the US Justice Department indicted Ishan Wahi along with his brother and friend in an insider trading scheme.
Case of the Coinbase Former Product Manager
The Justice Department had alleged the accused of front-running listings of new tokens on the crypto exchange Coinbase. Wahi has entered a guilty plea on two counts of conspiracy of committing wire fraud. The sentencing of the same shall likely happen ahead this year on May 10.
As per the structure, Wahi might face up to 40 years in prison under the sentencing guidelines. However, considering his cooperation in the case, he might receive a more lenient punishment. Lawyers for Wahi filed a motion to dismiss the case last night.
The agency also noted that the former product manager had tipped off his brother and friends regarding the then-upcoming token listing on Coinbase. All the parties made a total of $1 million in profits under this case of insider trading. In a statement on Tuesday, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said:
“Wahi is the first insider to admit guilt in an insider trading case involving the cryptocurrency markets. Whether it occurs in the equity markets or the crypto markets, stealing confidential business information for your own personal profit or the profit of others is a serious federal crime.”
Prior to the civil and criminal indictments, Coinbase had investigated Isha Wahi’s activities. Back in September 2022, Ishan’s brother Nikhil Wahi was arrested by the US Department of Justice after admitting that he traded crypto based on Coinbase’s confidential business information.
Nikhil said that he purchased the upcoming token listing on Coinbase via anonymous Ethereum wallets. The listing would ensure a strong rally in the crypto wherein they would book profits.
SEC and Coinbase
Along with the DOJ, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed separate charges over the trading of securities on the platform over the nine tokens in question. However, last week, Coinbase pursued the dismissal of a class action lawsuit
This has been a positive development for crypto exchange Coinbase after facing major headwinds over the last year. Coinbase is working to establish itself as a clean ad regulated platform for crypto trading activities.