• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

US Citizen Confesses to $4.5B Bitfinex Hack and ‘Crypto Couple’ Money Laundering

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ByMarcel Bich

Aug 31, 2023
Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichenstein Enter Guilty Pleas, Admitting Significant Charges in Ongoing Legal Case
Marcel Bich
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Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, a resident of New York, admitted to hacking Bitfinex and laundering the stolen money with his wife Heather Morgan, alias “Razzlekhan.” In a federal court in Washington, D.C., they admitted guilt to a conspiracy to commit money laundering as well as other crimes. In order to get access to the Bitfinex network, carry out over 2,000 fraudulent transactions, and steal bitcoin, Lichtenstein employed sophisticated hacking tools. 

He also deleted log files and login passwords in an effort to hide his activities. Morgan may receive a maximum 10-year term while Lichtenstein could receive up to 20 years in jail. He may have been able to help the prosecution by revealing himself to be the hacker. The “Crypto Couple,” also known as Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, stole 120,000 bitcoins worth $71 million in 2016. The value of the stolen bitcoins had risen to $4.5 billion by the time they were apprehended in 2022. 

The Arrest and Seizure

During the arrest, law authorities recovered $3.6 billion in bitcoin connected to the breach, and they subsequently grabbed another $475 million. While Lichtenstein was held in custody for trial, Morgan was freed after posting a $3 million bail. This case is significant because, unlike many previous cybercrime cases involving people from rogue regimes, the pair were easily accessible to law enforcement, resulting in the greatest confiscation of stolen bitcoin in American history.

The examination, which included several blockchains, ran from 2016 to 2022. To conceal their operations, the offenders employed a variety of obfuscation strategies, including false identities, automated transactions, numerous exchange accounts, and darknet markets. They also justified their banking by using accounts held by American businesses.

The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and IRS-Criminal Investigations worked together to locate the funds, carry out a search warrant, make arrests, and obtain a guilty plea. The inherent characteristics of blockchain enabled investigators to track money over a seven-year period. This was a remarkable and original crypto inquiry, and the blockchain will always contain the proof.

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Marcel Bich

Marcel ‘s passion for the world of cryptocurrencies and his comprehensive knowledge of blockchain technology make him an invaluable asset to our team. He stays updated on the latest trends, regulations, and emerging technologies in the crypto space, ensuring that our audience receives accurate and up-to-date information.