3-Year Prison Sentence for Cryptocurrency Breaches: Security Engineer Found Guilty

Shakeeb Ahmed, a cybersecurity engineer convicted of stealing around $12 million in crypto, was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison. In a press release, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the sentence. Ahmed was accused of hacking into two cryptocurrency exchanges, and stealing around $12 million in crypto, according to prosecutors. While the name of one of his victims was never disclosed, Ahmed reportedly hacked into Crema Finance, a Solana-based crypto exchange, in early July 2022. In the case of Nirvana Finance, the stolen funds “represented approximately all the funds possessed by Nirvana,” which led Nirvana Finance to shut down, according to the press release.

Shakeeb Ahmed, a former senior security engineer for an international technology company, has been sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in two cryptocurrency exchange hacks that resulted in the theft of approximately $12 million in crypto currency. The announcement of his sentence came in the form of a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“Ahmed was accused of hacking into two cryptocurrency exchanges, and stealing around $12 million in crypto, according to prosecutors.”

Ahmed’s lawyers, Adam Schwartz and Bradley Bondi, have not yet responded to a request for comment.

At the time of his arrest, Ahmed was no longer employed at Amazon, which he had previously listed on his Linkedin profile. Amazon confirmed to TechCrunch that he was not working for the company at the time of his arrest.

  • The first exchange Ahmed hacked into was Crema Finance, a Solana-based crypto exchange, in early July 2022.
  • Weeks later, Ahmed targeted Nirvana Finance, stealing $9 million and $3.6 million in the two hacks, respectively.

According to the press release, Ahmed’s hacking of Nirvana Finance resulted in the company losing all of its funds, forcing it to shut down permanently.

He pleaded guilty to both cyberattacks and has now been sentenced to three years in prison. Those with information about other cryptocurrency hacks can securely contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on Signal, Telegram, Keybase, or Wire at +1 917 257 1382, or via email. TechCrunch can also be contacted securely via SecureDrop.

“While it is common in the crypto world for hackers to attempt to return stolen funds in exchange for a fee and a non-disclosure agreement, law enforcement does not view this as an acceptable practice.”

Aside from serving three years in prison, Ahmed has also been sentenced to three years of supervised release and must forfeit $12.4 million in stolen funds and cryptocurrency. He is also required to pay over $5 million in restitution to the affected exchanges. This case highlights the ongoing tension between the acceptance of “white hatting” in the cryptocurrency industry and law enforcement’s strict stance against such actions.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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