Couple admit laundering $4B of stolen Bitfinex Bitcoins

Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan on Thursday pleaded guilty to money-laundering charges related to the 2016 theft of some 120,000 Bitcoins from Hong Kong-based Bitfinex.

The Feds arrested Lichtenstein, 35, and Morgan, 33, in February 2022 following the US government’s tracing of about 95,000 of the stolen BTC – worth about $3.6 billion at the time and $2.8 billion today – to digital wallets controlled by the married couple.

The Justice Department at the time described the seizure as the largest ever and has since recovered an additional $475 million.


Lichtenstein admitted in court he gained access into Bitfinex’s network using unidentified tools and techniques. According to prosecutors, once inside, Lichtenstein proceeded to initiate more than 2,000 fraudulent transactions that sent 119,754 bitcoin from Bitfinex into a cryptocurrency wallet he controlled.

Thereafter, the Justice Department said, he tried to cover his tracks by deleting access credentials and log files, and then involved Morgan to help launder the stolen funds by transferring them through a maze of financial accounts. At one point Lichtenstein used some of the funds to buy gold coins, which were then buried by Morgan.

An affidavit [PDF] from IRS investigator Christopher Janczewski, which documents the basis of the US government’s case, traces the flow of stolen funds through multiple accounts associated with the defendants.



Source: Couple admit laundering $4B of stolen Bitfinex Bitcoins • The Register

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