Former Coinbase executive will spend two years in prison for insider trading

Coinbase SEC

Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase chief product officer, will serve a sentence more than twice as long as his brother and co-conspirator, Nikhil Wahi.

After pleading guilty earlier this year, former Coinbase head of product Ishan Wahi has been sentenced to 2 years in prison in a landmark case for cryptocurrency insider trading.

The sentence exceeds the 10-month prison sentence of Ishan’s brother -Nikhil Wahi-, with whom he conspired to commit the crime.

Two years for insider trading of cryptocurrencies

According to a Reuters report, Ishan Wahi was sentenced Tuesday by US District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan federal court.

The sentencing comes after Wahi pleaded guilty in February to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Preska called his plan a “massive breach” of trust by Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, which has been the subject of a plethora of lawsuits from customers and the government over the past year. .

Wahi was arrested and charged by the Department of Justice last July for having provided his brother – along with his friend Sameer Ramani – with information about upcoming coin base listings that had not yet been made public. Analysis has shown that entries on large cryptocurrency exchanges often have a drastic effect on the price of an asset.

The group’s scheme netted them roughly $1.5 million in total through 55 different token announcements between June 2021 and April 2022, according to prosecutors.

Assistant US Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk said during the hearing that ten months of consistent leads showed that Wahi’s actions “were not an isolated mistake.” For her part, Judge Preska added that the attempts by Wahi and his co-defendants to cover up his actions showed that they knew what they were doing was wrong.

A “huge mistake”

“I made a huge mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Wahi said. His comment echoed that of his brother Nikhil in January, who said his mistake was “something I’ll have to live with forever” after pleading guilty to their respective charges.

Ishan Wahi initially pleaded not guilty to the wire fraud charges shortly after they were announced, but eventually followed his brother’s lead by pleading guilty in February.

Wahi requested a sentence no higher than his brother’s in court documents, citing other insider trading cases in which lawbreakers served short prison terms. Separately, prosecutors called for Wahi to receive 3 years in prison to set an example for other cryptocurrency insiders to misuse his insider information.

OpenSea’s Head of Product was similarly accused of NFT insider trading in June, but the former employee has since requested that those charges be dropped.