An employee of Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., was caught pocketing $1.5 million with his brothers and friends using internal information.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on the 21st (local time), the New York Southern District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase employee, his brother Nikil Wahi, and his friend Samir Ramani on charges of insider trading in cryptocurrency.
According to the prosecution’s indictment, since June 2021, they have collected a total of $1.5 million through at least 14 public announcements using internal information.
The prosecution claimed that Ishan knew information about cryptocurrencies that were scheduled to be listed on the exchange in advance because he worked for Coinbase’s asset listing team.
They tried to conceal transactions using internal information through anonymous digital wallets, but were caught by netizens’ suspicions.
One netizen claimed that someone purchased hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrencies a day before Coinbase announced its listing on the cryptocurrency community. Coinbase said it will investigate whether confidential information has been leaked from inside the company.
Coinbase completed its own investigation and the head of security operations emailed Ishan to attend the meeting, but he purchased a flight to escape to India. The Wahhi brothers were arrested at the airport.
“Our message is clear,” said Damien Williams, a prosecutor at the New York Southern District Attorney’s Office. Fraud is a fraud whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street.”
Coinbase said in a statement that it conducted an investigation into them and provided personal information to the Justice Department. It also added that it fired Ishan.
Coinbase is currently is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by trading volume.