Nishad Singh, the former director of engineering for defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to fraud charges lodged against him by U.S. prosecutors for his role in the alleged scheme.
Singh joins the ranks of other members of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s inner circle to admit to illegal undertakings in relation to the exchange.
Singh Pleads Guilty, Cooperating In FTX Investigation
Another close former associate of Sam Bankman-Fried has flipped on him.
According to a Tuesday report from Reuters, the former head of engineering at FTX, Nishad Singh, has pleaded guilty to charges related to the exchange’s spectacular collapse in November. Singh reportedly met with U.S. prosecutors last month to discuss a potential plea deal.
Singh is being charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud on FTX customers, money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government by breaching campaign finance rules.
Singh, a childhood friend of Bankman-Fried’s younger brother Gabriel, was the developer of some of FTX’s software code and was also residing in SBF’s Bahamas penthouse. He is facing a maximum of 75 years in prison for these charges. However, by agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against SBF, he’s likely to receive a significantly reduced sentence. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges brought against him for his management of FTX — and is set to go on trial in the fall.
SEC, CFTC Charge Singh
Following his guilty plea, Singh was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The SEC alleges that he diverted FTX customer funds to Alameda Research at SBF’s request. Per the CFTC complaint, Singh at one time transferred $8 billion in Alameda liabilities to a customer account to prevent the trading firm from “paying interest on its large outstanding balance.”
Singh is also accused of falsifying information to make it seem like FTX was raking in more revenue than it actually did throughout 2021.
SEC’s Director of Enforcement Gurbir Grewal said in a press release that what the 27-year-old did at the Bahamas-based exchange “was fraud pure and simple”, helping write software that was used to steal customer funds.
Singh is following in the footsteps of former FTX chief technology officer Gary Wang and Alameda Research ex-CEO Caroline Ellison, who are seeking leniency in the fraud case over the FTX implosion.
Federal criminal charges are just a small part of Singh’s legal concerns. Singh and his co-conspirators at FTX were all issued with a subpoena on Feb. 15 in a class-action lawsuit against venture capital giant Sequoia Capital and private equity firms Thoma Bravo and Paradigm.