Cybersecurity Expert Charged for Allegedly Stealing $9M in Crypto


The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York has accused Shakeeb Ahmed, a 34-year-old cybersecurity professional and former senior security engineer for an international technology company, of hacking a cryptocurrency exchange and stealing around $9 million in crypto.

It is believed that Ahmed targeted Crema Finance, a Solana-based exchange, in early July 2022, exploiting a vulnerability and fraudulently generating millions of dollars in fees, which he then withdrew.

In exchange for returning all of the stolen funds except for $1.5 million, Ahmed reportedly had communications with the Crypto Exchange in which he asked them not to refer the attack to law enforcement. Although this is a tactic commonly seen in the world of crypto and web3, with hackers who steal crypto and offer to return parts of it by negotiating with the victims directly sometimes calling themselves “white hats,” this case shows that returning some of the crypto loot still does not exclude one from prosecution.

The feds have highlighted the fact that Ahmed used the skills he had acquired from his day jobs to carry out the theft. He then allegedly attempted to hide the stolen funds, however his efforts were unsuccessful as the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Cyber Crimes Unit was able to track him down.

The indictment against Ahmed claims he was also researching online for information on the hack, his own criminal liability, attorneys who had expertise in similar cases, and whether law enforcement could investigate such an attack.

The case is a reminder that, even with specialized skills, no one is above the law.

Related articles

Recent articles