India-West News Desk
NEW YORK, NY – Two Indian brothers and their Indian American friend have been charged in the US in the first-ever cryptocurrency insider trading scheme in which they made illicit profits.
Indian citizens Ishan Wahi, 32, and Nikhil Wahi, 26, living in Seattle have been arrested while Sameer Ramani, 33, of Houston, is believed to be in India. With Ishan Wahi’s help, Ramani and Nikhil Wahi bought at least 25 crypto assets before Coinbase announced their arrival and then sold the assets for a $1.1 million profit, the SEC said. The trio also face wire fraud charges by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Our message with these charges is clear: Fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
Ishan Wahi is charged with two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Similarly, Nikhil Wahi and Ramani are charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Ramani and Ishan Wahi attended the University of Texas, Austin at the same time and remain close friends.