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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dixon

Bitfinex hacker pleads guilty in court.

Bitfinex hacker pleads guilty in court.
Bitfinex hacker pleads guilty in court.

Ilya Lichtenstein admitted to laundering the $4.5B worth of Bitcoin stolen during the 2016 Bitfinex attack; his wife Heather Morgan also pleaded guilty.

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Bitfinex hacker pleads guilty in court. Seven-Year-Long Investigation Comes To An End

In July 3, Ilya Lichtenstein, a resident of New York City, admitted to being the original hacker behind the 2016 Bitfinex attack in a federal court in Washington, D.C, according to a CNBC report. On the same day, his wife Heather Morgan also pleaded guilty to the charges of money laundering and conspiracy related to the hack. The cyberattack caused Bitfinex to lose almost 120 BTC, which was valued at $70 million at the time and has since increased to $4.5 billion. It took the US Department of Justice (DOJ) seven years to seize the stolen funds and identify the person responsible for the hack. Bitfinex hacker pleads guilty in court.

“Bitfinex diligently worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to identify the perpetrators of the hack, recover the stolen bitcoin, and bring the hackers to justice," said an external spokesperson for Bitfinex. "After seven years, those efforts have come to fruition.”

The Bizarre Couple Caught For Money Laundering

In February 2022, Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan, also known as "Razzlekhan," were arrested on charges of money laundering and theft in connection to the 2016 Bitfinex hack. The Department of Justice did not accuse them of being the original hackers behind the attack at that time. While Morgan claimed to be a cybercrime expert specializing in social engineering on her LinkedIn, Lichtenstein had a technical background in coding and data analysis. Despite their online personas, many believed that the couple had the necessary expertise to carry out the hack.

Most Of The Bitfinex Funds Recovered

In 2017, a portion of the Bitcoin stolen during the Bitfinex hack was moved by Lichtenstein in a series of small and complex transactions across multiple accounts and platforms. This shuffling process involved a large number of transactions and was aimed at obscuring the path of the stolen money. As a result of their arrest, the DOJ was able to recover 94,000 BTC linked to the hack, which is now equivalent to around $3.6 billion. Recently, Bitfinex recovered an additional $312,219 in cash and 6.9 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) worth around $1951 today, which was under the control of the United States Department of Homeland Security after the culprit's arrest in 2022. The couple responsible for the hack is now facing up to 25 years in prison. Netflix has announced that it might create a series about this case.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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