Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeLaw & PoliticsFormer Security Engineer Sentenced to 3 Years for $12.3 Million Crypto Exchange Heist

Former Security Engineer Sentenced to 3 Years for $12.3 Million Crypto Exchange Heist

April 12, 2024, Shakeeb Ahmed, a former security engineer, has been sentenced to three years in prison following his involvement in a significant cryptocurrency heist. Ahmed successfully hacked two decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges and stole digital assets worth over $12 million. This case marks a notable first in the legal system: it is considered the first-ever conviction for a smart contract hack. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero also ordered Ahmed to forfeit approximately $12.3 million and pay over $5 million in restitution to the affected parties.

The convicted individual, Shakeeb Ahmed, 34, was previously employed as a security engineer before committing the offenses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, under U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, prosecuted the case, emphasizing the sophistication of the crime and the intent to uphold justice regardless of the complexity of the technology involved.

The hacks targeted decentralized exchanges, which operate over blockchain networks and do not have a specific physical location. However, the legal proceedings took place in a U.S. District Court, overseen by Judge Victor Marrero.

Ahmed was arrested by U.S. law enforcement in July 2023, and the sentencing occurred on April 12, 2024. The hacks themselves occurred prior to his arrest, but specific dates of the crimes were not disclosed in the initial reports.

Using his expertise as a security engineer, Ahmed exploited a vulnerability within the smart contracts of the decentralized exchanges. After stealing the digital assets, he attempted to obscure his tracks by exchanging the stolen assets for a privacy-focused cryptocurrency, making it harder to trace the funds. Despite these efforts to conceal his actions, persistent investigative work by law enforcement led to his arrest and subsequent conviction.

In his statements, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams highlighted the significance of this case, underscoring the justice system’s adaptability to new technological challenges and its commitment to prosecuting cybercrimes effectively, regardless of their novelty or complexity.

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