- Seized $3.6 Billion in Cryptocurrency in connection with the 2016 Hack
- Arrested a couple, Ilya Lichtenstein, 34 and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, both of New York, NY
- Some 120,000 Bitcoin was stolen in the 2016 hack, then worth roughly $60 million
The United States Department of Justice announced today that they have seized $3.6 billion in Bitcoin in connection with the 2016 Bitfinex hack. The DOJ alleged that the two individuals conspired to launder cryptocurrency during the 2016 hack.
‘’In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter what form it takes,’’ Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement.
The DOJ ordered an arrest of Ilya Lichtenstein, 34 and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, the couple in connection with the stolen cryptocurrency. They further allege that the couple conspired to launder 119,754 Bitcoin stolen from the Bitfinex platform. Then, approximately 25,000 Bitcoin that was stolen was transferred into Lichtenstein’s wallet via a complex money laundering process.
The FBI seized more than 94,000 Bitcoin, worth roughly $3.6 Billion. Today’s arrests were the department’s largest financial seizure ever, further emphasizing the governments push to hold those accountable connected to crypto frauds.
Bitfinex Hack Takeaway
‘’Cryptocurrency and the virtual currency exchanges trading in it comprise an expanding part of the U.S. financial system. But digital currency heists executed through complex money laundering schemes undermine confidence in cryptocurrency,’’ U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves said in a statement.
Lichtenstein and Morgan are both charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. They were also charged with defrauding the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.