The attack worth $4.5 billion, was perpetuated by a man, Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, aged 35, who admitted to the court to laundering the stolen Bitcoin in 2016. Prior to the admission, who hacked the crypto exchange Bitfinex, reminded publicly unknown.
Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, plea came just before his wife stepped in to enter her guilty plea. His wife 33-year-old Heather Rhiannon Morgan was being charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the United States government.
Lichtenstein faces a count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He has been held in a no-bond status after being ruled by the tendency of escaping from the country before trial.
His wife Morgan, is an aspiring rapper known as “Razzlekhan” and “The Crocodile of Wall Street,” faces a possible sentence of five years in prison at maximum and has been free on a $3 million bond.
Since their arrest in February 2022, the Department of Justice reported recovery of more than 94,000 bitcoin out of over 119,000 hacked bitcoin. The stolen Bitcoin at the time was worth $70 million, but now values at $4.5 billion.
The DOJ reported that Lichtenstein employed advanced hacking tools authorizing more than 2,000 fraudulent transactions to 119,754 bitcoin to his control. He concealed his actions by erasing evidence and engaged his wife, Morgan, in laundering the stolen funds. After their arrest, around 25,000 bitcoin were transferred via a complex money laundering process into accounts controlled by the couple.
It was uncovered during his plea, that he converted assets into gold coins which were hidden by Morgan in a place now known to law enforcement. Lichtenstein’s earlier trips to Ukraine and Kazakhstan involved converting digital assets to cash, then physically depositing it in U.S. accounts.
In February 2018, Lichtenstein and Morgan created an account at a U.S. financial institution for their company, Endpass. They falsely claimed that the account would receive payments from software-as-a-service customers, but instead used it to launder funds from the Bitfinex hack, according to prosecutors.
According to Bitfinex in a statement, after the August 2016 hack, the exchange has been making efforts to refund their users while working with the U.S. Department of Justice. “After seven years, those efforts have come to fruition,” the exchange said.
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