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FTX ex-engineering chief Nishad Singh pleads guilty to criminal charges

The six charges include conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.
FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court.
FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court on Feb. 16.John Minchillo / AP file
/ Source: CNBC.com

FTX ex-engineering head Nishad Singh pleaded guilty to criminal charges in New York on Tuesday, becoming the latest member of Sam Bankman-Fried’s former leadership team to agree to a deal.

The six charges include conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. FTX spiraled into bankruptcy in November after the crypto exchange, founded by Bankman-Fried, couldn’t meet customers’ withdrawal demands.

“Today’s guilty plea underscores once again that the crimes at FTX were vast in scope and consequence,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “They rocked our financial markets with a multibillion dollar fraud. 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 in the Southern District of New York.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed related civil complaints against Singh on Tuesday. The SEC said in a release that Singh is cooperating with its investigation, and he has separately agreed to settle with the CFTC.

Two of the criminal charges are related to wire fraud, and another is conspiracy to commit commodities fraud.

“Nishad is deeply sorry for his role in this and has accepted responsibility for his actions,” lawyers for Singh said in a statement. “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.”

FTX co-founder Gary Wang and former Alameda Research co-CEO Caroline Ellison both pleaded guilty in December to federal charges in the Southern District of New York.

Alameda was a hedge fund and trading firm also controlled by Bankman-Fried. Prosecutors allege that customer deposits at FTX were sent to sister company Alameda, which faced billions of dollars in investment losses.

In December, Bankman-Fried was charged with eight criminal counts, including securities fraud and money laundering. He was hit last week with four more charges, some of them related to commodities fraud and making unlawful political contributions. He was released on a $250 million bond while awaiting trial.

A representative for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.

CORRECTION (Feb. 28, 2023, 11 p.m. ET): A photo caption in a previous version of this article misstated Sam Bankman-Fried’s role with FTX. He is one of two co-founders, not the sole founder.