Former Coinbase Employee Seeks to Limit Jail Term to 10 Months in Insider-Trading Case

Ishan Wahi faces a sentencing hearing on May 9 after admitting he’d revealed details of forthcoming crypto listings to his brother.

AccessTimeIconApr 26, 2023 at 7:47 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 26, 2023 at 2:32 p.m. UTC
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Ishan Wahi, former product manager at crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN), has asked to have a sentence of no more than 10 months in jail for insider-trading charges, his lawyers said in court filings made late Tuesday night.

Wahi has a sentencing hearing on May 9 in New York after he pleaded guilty to one of the first insider-trading cases concerning crypto trading.

“The Defendant respectfully submits that a sentence of no more than 10 months incarceration, together with several other consequences of Ishan’s conviction, would impose a sufficient, but not excessive, punishment for the crimes of conviction,” said the filing.

The case has drawn significant media attention, and Coinbase itself has intervened in a related case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, arguing that the digital assets listed were not, in fact, securities.

The Tuesday filing cites that significant public attention and Wahi’s previous “modest, law-abiding and admirable life” and mental health conditions as reasons for leniency.

"Ishan is a man of outstanding character who crossed the line," the document said. "His promising career has ended instantly, with no realistic prospects of similar employment in the future."

On Feb. 7, Wahi pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by sharing details of future Coinbase crypto token listings with his brother Nikhil and another contact, Sameer Ramani, in a case heard by Judge Loretta Preska in the Southern District Court of New York.

A plea deal entered by Ishan Wahi and the U.S. government in February suggested a sentence of three to four years in jail, with a fine in the range $15,000-$150,000. In January, Nikhil Wahi was sentenced to 10 months in prison for his role in the affair.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

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