U.S. seizes $3.6 billion in Bitcoin from Bitfinex 2016 hack, indicts couple

The U.S. Justice Department has cracked its biggest-ever cryptocurrency theft.

The Justice Department seized a record $3.6 billion in bitcoin tied to the 2016 hack of digital currency exchange Bitfinex.

The Justice Department also arrested a husband-and-wife team on money laundering charges.

The Justice Department arrested Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, and his wife, Heather Morgan for spending the illegal proceeds on items ranging from gold and non-fungible tokens to a $500 Walmart gift card.

The couple had active public profiles, with Morgan known as rap singer “Razzlekhan,” Reuters reports.

Lichtenstein and Morgan face charges of conspiring to commit money laundering as well as to defraud the United States. The case was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

The couple is accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 bitcoin stolen after a hacker broke into Bitfinex and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.

Justice Department officials said the transactions at the time were valued at $71 million in bitcoin, but with the rise in the currency’s value, the value now is over $4.5 billion.

Reuters reports that Bitfinex was working with the Department of Justice to “establish our rights to a return of the stolen bitcoin.”

Lichtenstein and Morgan also tried to launder money via a network of currency exchanges or claimed that the money represented payments to Morgan’s startup, the Department of Justice said.

In addition to her rap singer profile, Morgan had sidelines in the painting, fashion design, and writing worlds, where she pitched herself as a kind of corporate coach.

One of her recent pieces was titled, in part, “Tips to Protect Your Business from Cybercriminals” and featured an interview with a cryptocurrency exchange owner about how to prevent fraud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *