Nishad Singh
Nishad Singh | Photo: Bloomberg

The founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, is facing fresh charges as his inner circle crumbles. Former FTX engineering chief, Nishad Singh, has pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, making him the third member of the company’s inner circle to flip on Bankman-Fried.

Singh has been negotiating the deal since taking part in a proffer session last month. Meanwhile, Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison have also pleaded guilty to charges connected to their roles at FTX and Alameda Research.

The US Attorney for the Southern District, Damian Williams, remarked in a statement that Singh’s guilty plea underscored “once again that the crimes at FTX were vast in scope and consequence.”

“They rocked our financial markets with a multibillion dollar fraud,” his statement read. “And they corrupted our politics with tens of millions of dollars in illegal straw campaign contributions. These crimes demand swift and certain justice and that is exactly what we are seeking.”

Nishad Singh Knew What Was Happening with FTX and Almeda

Singh’s plea relates to the fact that he knew for months that Alameda Research was borrowing billions of dollars in funds from FTX without customers’ knowledge, but still took actions to make it appear that FTX’s revenues were higher than they were and provided that information to auditors. He pleaded guilty to six criminal counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and a campaign finance law violation.

Nishad Singh has also provided prosecutors with information on the political donations side of FTX, revealing that he had given more than $9.3 million to Democratic candidates and committees since 2020. Among the largest recipients was Mind the Gap, a political action committee founded by Bankman-Fried’s mother that received $1 million in April 2021.

Singh is accused of creating software code that allowed FTX customer assets to be transferred to Alameda. The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission have both filed civil lawsuits against him, alleging that he played an active role in deceiving investors and was aware that Bankman-Fried had directed hundreds of millions of dollars of customer funds to Alameda used for crypto trading and other activities.

Nishad Singh’s lawyers, Andrew D. Goldstein and Russell Capone, said in a statement that Singh “is deeply sorry for his role in this and has accepted responsibility for his actions” and that he “wants to do everything he can to make things right for victims, including by assisting the government to the best of his ability in this case.”

The SEC said Singh is cooperating with its ongoing investigation into the alleged fraud at FTX.

Federal prosecutors filed four additional charges against Bankman-Fried last week, accusing him of using FTX executives to make millions of dollars of political donations in hopes of influencing crypto regulation.

Nishad Singh walked out of court on Tuesday after signing a $250,000 bond — one-thousandth the size of the bond set for Bankman-Fried, who is out on a $250 million bail package. Singh had been living with Bankman-Fried in a Bahamas penthouse before the collapse of FTX in November.


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