U.S. Authorities Put On A Charge Of BTC Laundering On A Russian Citizen And His Marriage Partner

The US Department of Justice has made a public report about the arrest of two delinquents in connection with a great bitcoin heist. Ilya Lichtenstein, a Russian-American native, and his American wife Heather Morgan, also known as “Dutch” and “Razzlekha,” are suspected of one of the largest cryptocurrency thefts ever probed by this federal administrative agency.

On February 8th, a criminal investigation was launched, and persons suspected of having committed an offence were apprehended. Prosecutors requested pre-trial detention for both spouses. A large-scale scam happened in 2016 when iFinex Inc.’s cryptocurrency exchange was breached. The Bitfinex breach resulted in the laundering of around 4.5 billion USD.

Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan are accused of laundering around 4.5 billion USD. According to the prosecutor’s statement, the two crooks spent the unlawful gains on products ranging from a 500 bucks Walmart gift card to unplayable tokens and a variety of other commodities, even gold. To cap it all, Lichtenstein and Morgan were active on the Internet. Due to the online profile, Heather is also known as “Razzlekha” – a rap singer. According to her website, the moniker is a play on Genghis Khan, “but with a little more flair.” In addition to her rap career, Morgan also paints and does some fashion design. She also used to write posts on the Web where she portrayed herself as a type of corporate trainer. One of her most recent posts was headlined “Tips to safeguard your business from hackers,” and it contained an interview with the owner of a bitcoin exchange about how to avoid fraud.

The case of “Dutch” and “Razzlekha” was filed in federal court in Washington, DC. The criminal family is accused of cheating the United States and conspiring to launder money.

Lichtenstein’s bail was set at $5 million by US Magistrate Debra Freeman on the afternoon of February 8th. Morgan’s bail was set at $3 million. Furthermore, the judge ordered that the accused’s parents put up their houses. This should ensure that their children return to court.

According to Freeman, they will be held under house arrest with electronic surveillance and will be barred from engaging in bitcoin transactions until their trial. She stated that more limitations might be imposed later by a court in Washington, where additional hearings would be held.

Prosecutors had asked for pre-trial custody for both, arguing they were a flight risk. However, Freeman was persuaded by lawyer Anirudh Bansal’s claims that both Lichtenstein and Morgan were aware they were under investigation since November yet continued to reside in the United States.

The couples are accused of criminal conspiracy to profit themselves. They are accused of laundering 119,754 stolen bitcoins and initiating over 2,000 unlawful transactions. According to Justice Department authorities, the total amount of transactions at the time of the evaluation was roughly $71 million. However, considering the surge in the value of BTC, the amount is now more than $4.5 billion.

The disclosure in 2017 of an underground digital marketplace used to launder some of the proceeds helped investigators trace down the culprits. According to US investigators, part of the money was moved to AlphaBay, a dark web version of eBay. According to digital currency tracking company Elliptic, when the site was shut down, it likely allowed authorities to examine AlphaBay’s internal transaction records and link them to a cryptocurrency account in Lichtenstein’s name. According to the Ministry of Justice, Lichtenstein and Morgan also attempted to launder money through a network of currency exchangers masquerading the funds as contributions to Morgan’s business.

According to Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general, it was the greatest cash seizure in the Ministry of Justice’s history. She also emphasised that criminals should not use cryptocurrency as a safe refuge for their deception.

In a statement, Bitfinex stated that it is collaborating with the Ministry of Justice to “establish our rights to recover stolen bitcoin.”

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