Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan gained charges of conspiracy to launder stolen cryptocurrency. A cybercrime unit headed by the IRS discovered that the two were trying to move $4.5 billion worth of Bitcoin without detection. Through their efforts, they recovered $3.6 billion in stolen Bitcoin. Efforts continue to try and catch all the stolen cryptocurrency.
In 2016, the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex had 119,754 Bitcoin stolen, worth $72 million back then. The Bitfinex hack was the second-largest crypto theft of a crypto exchange.
Since the theft, authorities have closely monitored the wallets that held their money.
They were quiet for years until monitors spotted movement in 2021. The couple did not hack the exchange but were trying to launder the digital currency themselves.
According to the cybercrime unit, they were trying to move the money by creating a large volume of small transactions. Some Bitcoin went to a dead exchange called AlphaBay, which operated on the dark web.
Lichtenstein is an angel investor and former CEO of Mix Rank based on his online profiles.
Morgan leads the copywriting company SalesFolk. She also works as a freelance writer for several business publications. Based on her online profiles, she dubs herself as the Crocodile of Wall Street.
The crime will likely have some severe consequences, with how Bitcoin’s value has increased over the years. Back in 2016, Bitcoin was only worth $600 a coin. It’s now worth $40,000, a coin, and has even reached highs of $60,000.
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