Ex-Coinbase Product Manager Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Insider Trading

A former Coinbase employee was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday weeks after pleading guilty to insider trading charges, according to a report from Reuters.

Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at the U.S.-based crypto exchange, was arrested in July 2022 and charged with wire fraud and insider trading for feeding his brother and another man insider information about upcoming crypto listings. From June 2021 to April 2022, authorities say the men made over $1 million trading on Wahi’s information.

The case is the second crypto-related insider trading case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A guilty verdict in the first such case, which involved the former head of product at non-fungible token (NFT) platform OpenSea, was reached on May 3. Nate Chastain was convicted of money laundering and wire fraud for using insider knowledge of which NFTs would be listed on OpenSea to make profitable trades. Chastain has not yet been sentenced, but faces a maximum sentence of 40 years.

Wahi’s brother, Nikhil Wahi, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud last September, and in January was sentenced to 10 months in prison. After initially pleading not guilty and attempting to fight the case, Ishan Wahi pleaded guilty in February to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Wahi’s sentence is longer than his lawyers had hoped for – in court filings from April, Wahi’s lawyers requested Wahi be sentenced to no more than 10 months in prison, like his brother’s sentence. The two year sentence is considerably lower, however, than the 60 year maximum sentence he faced.