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Ex-Coinbase insider trader seeks to reduce jail term

ex-coinbase-insider-trader-seeks-to-reduce-jail-term
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Ex-Coinbase insider trader seeks to reduce jail term

An ex-Coinbase employee who pleaded guilty to two counts of insider trading now seeks a shortened sentence of at most 10 months.

The former employee, Ishan Wahi, worked as a product manager for Coinbase Exchange. Based on a court filing, Wahi now seeks a reduced jail term for his offenses.

On Feb. 7, Wahi pleaded guilty to illegalities associated with insider trading charges first filed in the Southern District of New York in July 2022. 

Wahi’s guilty plea was two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a crime which attracts a sentence of at least 20 years in prison. The defendant shared insider details of a Coinbase token listing to two contacts, including his brother Nikhil and a third-party Sameer Ramani.

As part of his guilty plea, the defendant entered a deal in February for a three to four years jail term. However, Wahi now wants the sentence reduced to at most ten months. Earlier in Jan 2023, Wahi’s brother Nikhil got a sentence of 10 months.

Based on reports, the hearing for the sentencing of Ishan is expected on May 10. In a court-received document, the defendant’s legal representation noted that:

“The Defendant respectfully submits that a sentence of no more than 10 months incarceration… would impose a sufficient, but not excessive, punishment for the crimes of conviction.”

The lawyers described Wahi’s life as admirable, modest, and law-abiding before the crimes. However, the lawyers argue that the crime has brought massive attention to the defendant’s previous private life. The filing also mentioned mental health conditions as reasons for seeking a reduced sentence.

Furthermore, the legal representation also argued that there were some self-inflicted pains the defendant would suffer. For instance, his once-promising career ended drastically, and he has no realistic employment prospects in a similar industry.

Insider trading cases have seemingly increased in the crypto space, with even major exchanges Binance and Coinbase being affected. 

Federal authorities expressed plans to go after the crypto industry for illegalities similar to those committed in traditional markets. Darmian William, a US attorney in the Southern District of New York, noted that whether the crime occurs in crypto or equity markets, insider trading “is a serious federal crime.”