Breaking: New York Resident Admits to $4.5B Bitfinex Hack

by Jared Kirui
  • Lichtenstein took a plea in Washington, D.C., today (Thursday).
  • Lichtenstein and his wife face charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
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A New York resident accused of being behind the 2016 hack that led to a loss of Bitcoins worth USD $4.5 billion on Bitfinex pleaded guilty today (Thursday). Ilya Lichtenstein also pleaded guilty to laundering the stolen Bitcoins in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

According to a report by CNBC, Lichtenstein took the plea before his wife, Heather Rhiannon Morgan, who was among the audience in the courtroom. Lichtenstein and Morgan were arrested last year for allegedly laundering cryptocurrencies worth USD $4.5 billion stolen from Bitfinex in 2016.

Lichtenstein to Remain in Custody

Lichtenstein, originally from Russia, has been under police custody since his arrest. His wife and accomplice Morgan, an aspiring rapper also known as ‘Razzlekahn’ or ‘The Crocodile of Wall Street’, was freed on a USD $3 million bond after her arrest.

Two weeks ago, Finance Magnates reported that the couple will appear before Senior Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelley in Washington, D.C. for a plea hearing for charges related to conspiracy to commit money laundering and defraud the United States.

According to the officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, Lichtenstein conspired with Morgan to launder 119,754 Bitcoins worth an estimated USD $70 million, at the time Bitfinex was hacked. When the duo was arrested, the DOJ seized 94,000 Bitcoins worth USD $3.6 billion, the largest seizure in the Department’s history.

Complex Money Laundering Scheme

Earlier, the DOJ explained that about 25,000 of the stolen Bitcoins were moved from Lichtenstein’s digital wallet in a complicated money laundering process that ended with some of the tokens being deposited in the couple’s accounts.

During the plea hearing, it was discovered that Lichtenstein had converted some of the allegedly stolen Bitcoins to gold, which Morgan had buried in a location now known to law enforcement agencies. Additionally, it was revealed that Lichtenstein traveled to Ukraine and Kazakhstan to launder the stolen funds.

Meanwhile, in May, a global network of investigative journalists claimed that Bitfinex never made the report public, alleging that the exchange experienced security lapses that led to the hack. However, Bitfinex dismissed the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project’s (OCCRP) findings.

A New York resident accused of being behind the 2016 hack that led to a loss of Bitcoins worth USD $4.5 billion on Bitfinex pleaded guilty today (Thursday). Ilya Lichtenstein also pleaded guilty to laundering the stolen Bitcoins in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

According to a report by CNBC, Lichtenstein took the plea before his wife, Heather Rhiannon Morgan, who was among the audience in the courtroom. Lichtenstein and Morgan were arrested last year for allegedly laundering cryptocurrencies worth USD $4.5 billion stolen from Bitfinex in 2016.

Lichtenstein to Remain in Custody

Lichtenstein, originally from Russia, has been under police custody since his arrest. His wife and accomplice Morgan, an aspiring rapper also known as ‘Razzlekahn’ or ‘The Crocodile of Wall Street’, was freed on a USD $3 million bond after her arrest.

Two weeks ago, Finance Magnates reported that the couple will appear before Senior Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelley in Washington, D.C. for a plea hearing for charges related to conspiracy to commit money laundering and defraud the United States.

According to the officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, Lichtenstein conspired with Morgan to launder 119,754 Bitcoins worth an estimated USD $70 million, at the time Bitfinex was hacked. When the duo was arrested, the DOJ seized 94,000 Bitcoins worth USD $3.6 billion, the largest seizure in the Department’s history.

Complex Money Laundering Scheme

Earlier, the DOJ explained that about 25,000 of the stolen Bitcoins were moved from Lichtenstein’s digital wallet in a complicated money laundering process that ended with some of the tokens being deposited in the couple’s accounts.

During the plea hearing, it was discovered that Lichtenstein had converted some of the allegedly stolen Bitcoins to gold, which Morgan had buried in a location now known to law enforcement agencies. Additionally, it was revealed that Lichtenstein traveled to Ukraine and Kazakhstan to launder the stolen funds.

Meanwhile, in May, a global network of investigative journalists claimed that Bitfinex never made the report public, alleging that the exchange experienced security lapses that led to the hack. However, Bitfinex dismissed the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project’s (OCCRP) findings.

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