Saturday, September 23, 2023

A couple accused of laundering funds drained from crypto exchange Bitfinex in a 2016 hack have entered a plea agreement with U.S. authorities, court filings show.

Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein are pleading guilty to three charges, two counts of money laundering and one of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The United States Attorney has ordered the couple to forfeit billions of dollars worth of bitcoin, ether, stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies, in addition to cash from their bank accounts, at the time of conviction, according to the plea deal.

It is unclear how much time the two could serve behind bars. Last year, the pair faced two conspiracy charges each that posed a maximum sentence of 25 years.

“It was the object of the conspiracy for the defendants, MORGAN and Lichtenstein, to unlawfully enrich themselves by laundering the proceeds of the hack and scheme to defraud the victim virtual currency exchange, Bitfinex and to prevent detection of the laundering activity,” the new filing said.

Morgan and her husband were accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 bitcoins – worth roughly $3.5 billion at the time of publication – stolen during an exploit of Bitfinex in 2016. The couple and their lawyers previously intended to fight the charges, alleging there were “many deficiencies in the Government’s proof and unsupported, conclusory leaps,” previous filings show.

Lawyers for neither Morgan nor Lichtenstein immediately responded to CoinDesk’s request for comment.

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