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DOJ Arrests Man Who Reportedly Stole $9 Million Worth of Crypto

Summary:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrested security engineer Shakeeb Ahmed for engaging in the million theft of an unnamed decentralized crypto exchange (DEX). The DOJ Has a Suspect The DOJ alleges Shakeeb created fake pricing data to generate fees through the exchange, which later allowed him to make ongoing withdrawals. He was arrested in mid-July of this year – approximately 12 months after he took part in the attack – following several days of tracking his online behavior. A DOJ press release explained: In July 2022, Ahmed carried out an attack on the crypto exchange by exploiting a vulnerability in one of the crypto exchange’s smart contracts and inserting fake pricing data to fraudulently cause that smart contract to generate approximately

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrested security engineer Shakeeb Ahmed for engaging in the $9 million theft of an unnamed decentralized crypto exchange (DEX).

The DOJ Has a Suspect

The DOJ alleges Shakeeb created fake pricing data to generate fees through the exchange, which later allowed him to make ongoing withdrawals. He was arrested in mid-July of this year – approximately 12 months after he took part in the attack – following several days of tracking his online behavior. A DOJ press release explained:

In July 2022, Ahmed carried out an attack on the crypto exchange by exploiting a vulnerability in one of the crypto exchange’s smart contracts and inserting fake pricing data to fraudulently cause that smart contract to generate approximately $9 million dollars’ worth of inflated fees that Ahmed did not legitimately earn, which fees Ahmed was able to withdraw from the crypto exchange in the form of cryptocurrency.

While the DEX hasn’t been identified at the time of writing, authorities have confirmed it sits atop the Solana blockchain. Discussing the case in an interview, U.S. attorney Damian Williams commented:

This is the second case we are announcing this week to shed light on fraud in the cryptocurrency and digital asset ecosystem. As alleged in the indictment, Shakeeb Ahmed, who was a senior security engineer at an international technology company, used his expertise to defraud the exchange and its users and steal approximately $9 million in cryptocurrency. We also allege that he then laundered the stolen funds through a series of complex transfers on the blockchain where he swapped cryptocurrencies, hopped across different crypto blockchains, and used overseas crypto exchanges, but none of those actions covered the defendant’s tracks or fooled law enforcement, and they certainly didn’t stop my office, or our law enforcement partners from following the money.

HIS special agent in charge Chad Plantz also threw his two cents into the mix, stating:

Financial crime strikes at the core of our national and economic banking security.  With an attack of this magnitude, it’s crucial we ensure continued consumer confidence in our financial system.  Ruthless and reckless attempts aimed [at sabotaging] legitimate commerce for greed must be stopped.  It’s cases like these that demonstrate HSI’s commitment and ability to work with a coalition of the willing to dismantle these complicated and technical fraud schemes and identify those responsible regardless of where they operate.

No Match for Law Enforcement

Lastly, IRS-CI special agent in charge Tyler Hatcher mentioned:

As alleged, Mr. Ahmed used his skills as a computer security engineer to steal millions of dollars.  He then allegedly tried to hide the stolen funds, but his skills were no match for [the] IRS Criminal Investigation’s Cyber Crimes Unit.  We, along with our partners at HSI and the Department of Justice, are at the forefront of cyber investigations.

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