San Francisco, March 1 (IANS) Indian-origin Nishad Singh, the former director of engineering at collapsed crypto exchange FTX, has finally pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was currently cooperating with the US prosecutors in the alleged billion-dollar scam at the crypto trading platform run by former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried who is also facing a trial.
Singh pleaded guilty to six conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws.
Bankman-Fried, along with Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, and Caroline Ellison, the former head of FTX’s sister hedge fund Alameda Research, have all pleaded guilty in the ongoing case.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Singh for his role in a multi-year scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Singh created software code that allowed FTX customer funds to be diverted to Alameda Research, a crypto hedge fund owned by Bankman-Fried and Wang, despite false assurances by Bankman-Fried to investors that FTX was a safe crypto asset trading platform.
The complaint alleged that Singh knew or should have known that such statements were false and misleading.
“We allege that this was fraud, pure and simple: while on the one hand FTX touted its supposed effective risk mitigation measures to investors, on the other Singh and his co-defendants were stealing customer funds using software code Singh helped create,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
The complaint also alleged that Singh was an active participant in the scheme to deceive FTX’s investors.
Moreover, according to the complaint, as FTX neared collapse, Singh withdrew approximately $6 million from FTX for personal use and expenditures, including the purchase of a multi-million dollar house and donations to charitable causes.
In a parallel action, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also announced charges against Singh.
“Today’s guilty plea underscores once again that the crimes at FTX were vast in scope and consequence,” said Damian Williams, US attorney for the Southern District of New York.