Bitcoin hack money laundering case moves toward guilty pleas
Bitcoin hack money laundering case moves toward guilty pleas

Crypto Couple Appears Ready to Plead Guilty in Bitcoin Hacking Case

this New York Couple charged with trying to launder $4.50 billion exist bitcoin Those who were stolen in the 2016 Bitfinex hack appear to be pleading guilty in the case.

The couple, Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Rhiannon Morgan, were charged in the case with a new document titled “Information,” according to a new record Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

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An information is a type of charging document that federal prosecutors typically use when a defendant agrees to plead guilty.

Lichtenstein and aspiring rapper Morgan have been ordered to appear in court on Aug. 3 for a separate arraignment and plea hearing over the information, according to another case record.

The nature of one or more of the allegations in the information has not been made public. Often, the information contains fewer allegations than were originally made against the defendant, or there are different allegations.

Book photos for Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein.

Provided by Alexandria Adult Detention Center.

Judge Corrine Corral-Cortelli on Friday ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to provide her with guilty plea documents by Thursday, court documents show.

The document will include “charged offenses and statutory terms; guilty plea charges and statutory terms; elements of offense; copy of plea agreement; penalties; and (federal sentencing) guidance calculations.”

The couple were initially criminally charged when they were arrested in February 2022 and pleaded not guilty to the charges listed in the document — conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Morgan, known as “Razzlekhan,” was freed on a $3 million bond. Lichtenstein, nicknamed “The Dutchman,” has been in prison since February 2022 without bail after a judge ruled the Russian immigrant was a flight risk.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, which is prosecuting the couple, declined to comment. Their defense attorneys did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Weeks after the couple’s arrest, prosecutors said they were in plea talks with them.

The couple’s case has continued since their arrest. They had been scheduled to appear at a status hearing on Monday, ahead of the release of new docket records on Friday. The hearing was canceled due to the filing of new charging documents.

Lichtenstein, 34, and Morgan, 32, are accused of attempting to launder the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoins stolen from the Bitfinex platform in August 2016. The couple have not been charged in connection with the hack of the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange.

At the time of their arrest, officials had seized more than 94,000 bitcoins involved in the hack, worth about $3.6 billion at the time, the Justice Department said. It was the largest financial seizure in the history of the Justice Department.

The bitcoins stolen in the hack were worth just $70 million at the time of the theft, but have skyrocketed in value over the next few years.

“Over the past five years, approximately 25,000 stolen bitcoins were transferred from Lichtenstein’s wallets through a complex money laundering process, with some of the stolen funds ultimately deposited into financial accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and J.P. Morgan,” the DOJ said at the time of their arrests.

Netflix announced in early 2022 that it has commissioned a series about the couple.


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