On February 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested a couple who allegedly laundered 94,636 bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex in 2016. The DOJ alleges that tech entrepreneur Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, conspired to launder billions of dollars worth of Bitcoins. The two could face 25 years in federal prison if convicted; five months later, a federal judge reportedly gave Morgan permission to get a job and “engage in lawful employment.”
Former Forbes author and street rapper Heather Morgan granted pretrial release to work
Heather Morgan, one of the defendants in the Bitfinex money laundering case, will be allowed to work at her traditional job after a judge granted the former Forbes technology writer the ability to work while her trial continues.Razzlekhan” or “Crocodile of Wall Street,” Morgan, who was also a New York street rapper, is accused of “conspiracy charges” to launder 94,636 Bitcoins, currently worth $1.95 billion using the currentBTCexchange rate Allegedly, using the current BTC exchange rate, is currently worth $1.95 billion. Morgan and her husband were arrested earlier this year and the bitcoins resulting from the 2016 Bitfinex hack were once worth $4.5 billion.
A federal judge has granted Morgan permission to work while on pretrial release, according to a Bloombergreportthis week. While crimes such as murder and robbery have a very low probability of obtaining pretrial release, statistics show that crimes involving money laundering conspiracy and fraud charges have an 82%chance of obtaining pretrial release. The probability of obtaining pretrial release for certain engagements, such as attending a funeral or engaging in employment, is 82%. The judge presiding over Morgan’s case has allowed the former tech writer and rapper to seek “lawful employment.”
The infamous 2016 Bitfinex hack was nearly six years ago when the exchange lost 119,754 BTCwere stolen at 10:26 a.m. ET on August 2 of that year. As soon as news of the 2016 Bitfinex hack spread, the price of bitcoin fell 22% against the USD in the 24 hours following the heist. Reports have speculatedthat Bitfinex hackers had access to the Bitfinex servers weeks before the crypto assets were stolen, as the attackers searched for private keys.For nearly six years, or until five months ago, the Bitfinex heist was a mystery and the stolen on-chain sleuths who monitored the coins to hide their movements on the blockchain.
U.S. law enforcement agents claim a 2017 Alphabay transaction allegedly connected to Liechtenstein and Morgan
For the first few months, the stolen Bitfinex bitcoins remained idle, but suddenly started moving in January 2017. The coins are believed to have been mixed usingBTCtumbling services and sent to the now-defunct Alphabay Darknet Marketplace (DNM). Several times thereafter, the stolen 119,754 bitcoins were transferred to an unknownBTCwallet; to a BTCwallet, most of which were transferred in fractions; and to a BTCwallet, where they were transferred in fractions. Then on February 1, 2022, 94,636BTCfrom the 2016 hack were consolidated to a single address, but no one knew at the time whythe BTCconsolidation occurred. It wasn’t until a week later that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified law enforcement that they had seized 94,636 BTC
DOJ revealed that husband and wife Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and wife Heather Morgan, 31, were arrested for “alleged conspiracy to launder money” from stolen Bitfinex BTC 64} afr. com’s reportfurther claims thatBTCwas sent to Bitfinex. BTCsent to AlphaBay DNM, claiming some connection to Lichtenstein’s and Morgan’s arrests some years later. The law enforcement agency that pointed out this connection said that they declined to say exactly when and how the two incidents were allegedly found to be related.
Although Morgan has been cleared to find “legitimate employment” opportunities, her and Lichtenstein’s ostensible story has seen a lot of press coverage over the past five months. For example, almost immediately after the couple’s arrest, streaming media outlet Netflix revealed that it had ordered a documentary series about the couple’s alleged plan to launder billions of dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrency in “the biggest criminal financial crime case in history.”
What do you think about the federal judge granting Heather Morgan a work permit in the ongoing money laundering case? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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