A married couple has been arrested and charged with laundering billions in Bitcoin stolen throughout the 2016 Bitfinex hack, because the Justice Division introduced its largest monetary seizure ever.
Ilya ‘Dutch’ Lichtenstein, 34, and his spouse, Heather Rhiannon Morgan, 31, who raps beneath the identify Razzlekhan, had been arrested on Tuesday in Manhattan on federal fees of conspiracy to commit cash laundering and conspiracy to defraud america.
Federal regulation enforcement officers mentioned they recovered roughly $3.6 billon in cryptocurrency linked to the hack of Bitfinex, a digital foreign money change whose programs had been breached practically six years in the past.
Lichtenstein and Morgan dwell on Wall Avenue in decrease Manhattan. He’s a citizen of each Russia and america and the co-founder of a web based advertising agency.
Morgan, a rapper and former Forbes contributor, describes herself as ‘an skilled in persuasion, social engineering, and sport principle’ and in considered one of her songs, declared herself the ‘Crocodile of Wall Avenue.’
Ilya ‘Dutch’ Lichtenstein, 34, and his spouse, Heather Rhiannon Morgan, 31, who raps beneath the identify Razzlekhan, had been arrested on Tuesday in Manhattan on cash laundering fees
Morgan (seen in entrance of Federal Corridor on Wall Avenue in a music video) declared herself the ‘Crocodile of Wall Avenue’ in considered one of her rap songs
On this courtroom sketch, lawyer Sam Enzer, middle, sits between Heather Morgan, left, and her husband, Ilya ‘Dutch’ Lichtenstein, in federal court docket on Tuesday
‘I am many issues, a rapper, an economist, a journalist, a author, a CEO, and a unclean, soiled, soiled soiled h*,’ she raps in her 2019 single, Versace Bedouin.
‘When she’s not reverse-engineering black markets to consider higher methods to fight fraud and cybercrime, she enjoys rapping and designing streetwear vogue,’ her Forbes bio reads.
The August 2016 Bitfinex hack itself was one of many largest crypto heists ever recorded – so huge that information of the theft knocked 20 % off Bitcoin’s worth on the time.
Lichtenstein and Morgan are to this point not charged instantly with perpetrating the hack, however moderately with receiving and laundering the stolen funds. The case was filed in a federal court docket in Washington, D.C.
It was unclear who can be representing the couple within the prison case and whether or not they had an lawyer to talk on their behalf.
They had been as a consequence of seem in federal court docket in Manhattan at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
The couple is accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 bitcoin that was stolen, after a hacker attacked Bitfinex and initiated greater than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.
Morgan, a rapper and former Forbes contributor, describes herself as ‘an skilled in persuasion, social engineering, and sport principle’
The couple is accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 bitcoin that was stolen, after a hacker attacked Bitfinex and initiated greater than 2,000 unauthorized transactions
Justice Division officers mentioned the transactions on the time had been valued at $71 million in Bitcoin, however with the rise within the foreign money’s worth, it’s now valued at over $4.5 billion.
‘Because the criticism alleges, the FBI and federal prosecutors had been in a position to hint the motion of Bitcoin from this hack,’ mentioned Matthew Graves, the U.S. Lawyer for the District of Columbia.
He added that the cash moved by a significant darknet change tied to a number of crimes, in addition to cryptocurrency addresses tied to little one sexual abuse supplies.
Lichtenstein and Morgan are going through fees of conspiring to commit cash laundering, in addition to to defraud america.
Prosecutors mentioned on Tuesday the unlawful proceeds had been spent on quite a lot of issues, from gold and non-fungible tokens to ‘completely mundane issues similar to buying a Walmart reward card for $500.’
Bitfinex mentioned in an announcement that it was to working with the Division of Justice to ‘set up our rights to a return of the stolen bitcoin.’
‘We’ve got been cooperating extensively with the DOJ since its investigation started and can proceed to take action,’ the corporate mentioned.
Bitfinex mentioned it intends to supply additional updates on its efforts to acquire a return of the stolen bitcoin as and when these updates can be found.
Tuesday’s prison criticism got here greater than 4 months after Monaco introduced the division was launching a brand new Nationwide Cryptocurrency Enforcement Workforce, which is comprised of a mixture of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity specialists.
The August 2016 Bitfinex hack itself was one of many largest crypto heists ever recorded – so huge that information of the theft knocked 20 % off Bitcoin’s worth
Lichtenstein and Morgan are going through fees of conspiring to commit cash laundering, in addition to to defraud america
Morgan is seen rapping with the New York Inventory Alternate behind her to the precise
Cyber criminals who assault firms, municipalities and people with ransomware usually demand cost within the type of cryptocurrency.
In a single high-profile instance final yr, hackers prompted a widespread gasoline scarcity on the U.S. East Coast when by utilizing encryption software program known as DarkSide to launch a cyber assault on the Colonial Pipeline.
The Justice Division later recovered some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom that Colonial paid to the hackers.
Circumstances like these show that the Justice Division ‘can observe cash throughout the blockchain, simply as we have now all the time adopted it inside the conventional monetary system,’ mentioned Kenneth Well mannered, assistant lawyer common of the division’s Legal Division.
Justice Division officers say that although the proliferation of cryptocurrency and digital foreign money exchanges signify innovation, the development has additionally been accompanied by cash laundering, ransomware and different crimes
‘Immediately´s arrests, and the Division´s largest monetary seizure ever, present that cryptocurrency will not be a protected haven for criminals,’ Deputy Lawyer Basic Lisa Monaco mentioned in an announcement.
‘In a futile effort to take care of digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds by a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Due to the meticulous work of regulation enforcement, the division as soon as once more confirmed the way it can and can observe the cash, regardless of the shape it takes.’