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Hacker Shakeeb Ahmed Pled Guilty to 5 Year Max now Gets 3 Years For Nirvana DeFi Exploit

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 12 – Shakeeb Ahmed was arrested at 6 am on July 11 and appeared in court at 3 pm on crypto fraud charges. Indictment on Patreon here.

Inner City Press was there, in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, when Ahmed was brought in by U.S. Marshals, wearing shorts and a t-short emblazoned "I [two-screens] CODE." Thread here.

  The SDNY prosecutors agreed to release Ahmed on bond, only $100,000 of it secured by cash, to live in his luxury apartment on 57th Street. This stands in contrast to the detention of Avi Eisenberg, and Miles Guo. 

On July 14, District Judge Victor Marrero set the next conference for August 11.

Inner City Press went to the nearly empty courtroom; threadette:

Shakeeb Ahmed has 3 lawyers and is wearing a suit, not "I CODE" T-shirt he wore at arraignment.

All rise!

Judge Marrero: Tell me about discovery...

 AUSA: We turned over Google subpoena returns. We seized over 20 devices, we are imaging them and Ahmed's laptop from his former employer.

 Defense: We got 90 gigabytes this morning. We'd like until October.

AUSA: Oct 20.

Judge Marrero: 2 pm. Adjourned.

 The prosecutors summarize: "In July 2022, AHMED carried out an attack on the Crypto Exchange by exploiting a vulnerability in one of the Crypto Exchange’s smart contracts and inserting fake pricing data to fraudulently cause that smart contract to generate approximately $9 million dollars’ worth of inflated fees...        The Crypto Exchange was incorporated overseas and operates on the Solana blockchain... AHMED laundered the millions in fees that he stole from the Crypto Exchange to conceal their source and ownership, including through (i) conducting token-swap transactions, (ii) “bridging” fraud proceeds from the Solana blockchain over to the Ethereum blockchain, (iii) exchanging fraud proceeds into Monero."

On December 14, Shakeeb Ahmed pled guilty in SDNY Magistrates Court. Inner City Press was the only media there; thread

Plea agreement on Patreon here.

 On March 29, 2024, Shakeeb Ahmed's counsel wrote in asking in advance to seal in full a letter he intends to file from Ahmed's therapist, presumably for a lower sentence.

On April 1, the US asked for a "slightly below Guidelines sentence" of 48 months. A sealed document was placed in the vault.

On April 12, Inner City Press went to the sentencing, thread:

Defense: Shakeeb lives in a 500 sq ft apartment in Hell's Kitchen. He had a great job at Amazon. Now he works at a mental health care start-up. His serious girlfriend Zoe and 2 siblings are here. His family paid my firm's legal expenses.

 Defense lawyer: In my 26 years in the SDNY, I have never appeared before Your Honor. But I see that since Booker, you have never given jail time to a defendant who paid full restitution before sentencing

 [Note: this defense counsel was part of the team of lawyers for Nikola's Trevor Milton... For Shakeeb Ahmed Probation recommends 2 years in prison; US Attorney's Office says 4 years. Ahmed wants no jail time 

Shakeeb Ahmed: I lost my way. I apologize to the users of Nirvana Finance. (Sobs) I am raised in a harsh and unforgiving household. I was drawn to technology. I got lost. During the pandemic I turned to crypto.

 Shakeeb Ahmed: I witnessed hacks, I found a way to exploit an exchange's smart contracts. I went into therapy. 

Judge Marrero: I sentence you to 36 months in prison.

It will start after Eid, in late June; the request is for Morgantown WV or Cumberland Satellite Camp in Maryland...

More on X for Subscribers here and Substack here

The case is US v. Ahmed, 23-cr-340 (Marrero) 


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