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HomeExchange NewsCrypto Money Launderers Heather Morgan and Ilya Liechtenstein to Plead Guilty

Crypto Money Launderers Heather Morgan and Ilya Liechtenstein to Plead Guilty

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Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein were a couple back in New York last year that tried to launder as much as $4.5 billion in bitcoin stolen from a hack on the Bitfinex crypto exchange that occurred in the year 2016. They were arrested for their roles in the incident in 2022 and now appear all set to plead guilty in the case.

Heather and Ilya Are not Going to Fight the Charges

News of this first came to light when it was discovered that they were newly charged in Washington, D.C. through a paper known as an “information” doc, which is usually involved when defendants agree to plead guilty to charges. Both Heather and Ilya will also take part in separate court appearances where they will be separately arraigned and be given further plea hearing data.

The bitcoin that the pair initially laundered was only worth about $70 million in 2016, though it has since skyrocketed in value over the next few years. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement at the time of the couple’s arrest which read:

Over the last five years, approximately 25,000 of those stolen bitcoins were transferred out of Lichtenstein’s wallet via a complicated money laundering process that ended with some of the stolen funds being deposited into financial accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and Morgan.

Ilya is 34 years of age, while Heather is 32. This means they both took part in the incident when they were in their mid to late 20s, and they somehow managed to get away with their crime(s) for over half a decade. They’re accused of trying to launder the proceeds of more than 119,000 bitcoin units stolen from Bitfinex.

When they were arrested, the DOJ said approximately 94,000 bitcoin units stemming from the hack were seized. At the time, the money was worth roughly $3.6 billion, and it’s likely only gone up since then considering how different 2023 has been from 2022 regarding the price and overall status of BTC. It’s considered the largest seizure of bitcoin by the DOJ in history.

So Much Crime Last Year

Morgan was freed after a $3 million bond was posted, while Ilya remains in jail since February of last year as the judge overseeing his case considers him a flight risk (Ilya is a native of Russia and is not a citizen of the U.S.) The couple is now the subject of a new Netflix documentary viewers can expect to come to fruition soon.

2022 was a year marred by heavy crypto crime. Another major incident occurred through the collapse of popular digital currency exchange FTX, which at one time, was considered one of the top digital trading platforms in the world. Billions in crypto were lost, and the company’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried is now awaiting trial.

Nick Marinoff
Nick Marinoffhttps://www.livebitcoinnews.com/
Nick Marinoff is currently a lead news writer and editor for Money & Tech, a San Francisco-based broadcasting station that reports on all things digital currency-related. He has also written for a number of other online and print publications including Black Impact Magazine, EKT Interactive, Seal Beach USA and Benzinga.com, to name a few. He has recently published his first e-book "Take a 'Loan' Off Your Shoulders: 14 Simple Tricks for Graduating Debt Free" now available on Amazon. He is excited about the potential digital currency offers, particularly its ability to finance unbanked populations and bring nations together financially.

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