Crypto couple behind 2016 Bitfinex hack set to plead guilty

Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan – the couple who hit the headlines for allegedly laundering Bitcoin tokens worth billions of dollars by hacking into crypto exchange Bitfinex in 2016 – have reached a plea agreement with the US authorities. 

Being among the earliest cryptocurrencies to have been launched globally, Bitcoin is among the most-traded tokens across the world. It is regularly featured among the top ten cryptocurrencies and its native token is represented by the ticker symbol BTC.

In the records filed on July 21, 2023, in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the couple is slated to appear for a hearing and arraignment on August 3 as part of the plea agreement. The two have been accused of hatching a conspiracy for money laundering. They have also been charged with an attempt to defraud US authorities and may have to forfeit all digital assets related to the case. 

Arrested in February 2022 in New York

In August 2016, Lichtenstein and Morgan allegedly hacked into Bitfinex and stole roughly 119,754 tokens. Since the hack, the two have reportedly swindled over 94,643 coins in a series of complex yet small transactions that were spread across platforms and accounts. The two were arrested by authorities in New York in February 2022 and BTC tokens worth around $3.6 billion were seized from them. 

At the time of the couple’s arrest, the laundered BTC tokens were considered to be the biggest financial seizure made by the US Department of Justice. However, over time, other individuals associated with the hack have managed to move small amounts of Bitcoin periodically. At the same time, only a small amount from the laundered crypto assets has been returned to Bitfinex as part of efforts to compensate victims.  

About Bitfinex

Bitfinex is a leading cryptocurrency exchange where one can trade tokens in a seamless manner. Users can also access information about live cryptocurrency prices, cryptocurrency news in India, and cryptocurrency tax in India.

It was launched by Giancarlo Devasini and Raphael Nicolle in 2012 and it’s currently operated by iFinex Inc. The Hong Kong-based firm also owns Tether, which is among the largest stablecoins in terms of market capitalization. The exchange is known for ensuring a seamless experience where both amateur and professional investors can explore opportunities in margin funding, paired trading, margin lending, participate in online programs to learn about how to invest in cryptocurrency in India, and over-the-counter trading, among other options.

Disclaimer: This article was created for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. An asset’s past performance does not predict its future returns. Before making an investment, please conduct your own research, as digital assets like cryptocurrencies are highly risky and volatile financial instruments.

Author: Puskar Pande

Leave a Reply