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NY Couple to Forfeit Billions in Crypto and Cash in Plea Deal Over Bitfinex Hack Laundering Case

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NY Couple to Forfeit Billions in Crypto and Cash in Plea Deal Over Bitfinex Hack Laundering Case

Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, the New York-based couple implicated in the alleged laundering of $4.5 billion in bitcoin pilfered from the 2016 Bitfinex cyber-attack, have reached a plea bargain, as revealed by recent court records. The pair is scheduled to appear before U.S. judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on August 3, 2023, and will be mandated to surrender all cryptocurrency assets and funds they possessed prior to their apprehension.

NY Duo Set to Surrender More Than $2.8B in Historic Plea Deal

The Department of Justice reported the arrest of Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan on February 8, 2023, for purportedly conspiring to launder proceeds from the theft of 119,754 bitcoins from Bitfinex. Morgan was granted bail in July 2022 with permission to seek lawful employment but her husband remained incarcerated. Now, one year after Morgan’s release on certain terms, both individuals have struck a deal with the government.

Court documents filed on July 20 and 21, 2023 indicate that Lichtenstein and Morgan are due to appear before U.S. judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on August 3. Furthermore, they must relinquish about 94,643.29837084 BTC valued at $2.8 billion based on July 21 exchange rates. Notably, the couple possessed more than just BTC in their crypto portfolio; these additional digital currencies must also be forfeited to the U.S. government.

Other coins to be surrendered include 117,376.52651940 bitcoin cash (BCH) and an equal amount of bitcoinsv (BSV). The couple is also required to relinquish 118,102.03258447 bitcoin gold (BTG), 29,016.98 monero (XMR), a collection of USDC held across multiple blockchains, .879544 curve dao (CRV) tokens, and 7,389,269.171 tether (USDT). The 7.3 million USDT was kept in decentralized finance (defi) liquidity pools for generating returns. Additionally, investigators found several thousand ETH and WETH stored at the couple’s Manhattan residence.

The government also plans to confiscate various U.S. and Canadian gold coins held by the duo. Moreover, $228,266 from a JPMorgan Chase account, $2,460,375 taken from a Flagstar bank account previously linked to a Signature Bank account before the institution’s collapse, and approximately $352,381.55 from a Wells Fargo bank account are all targeted for seizure as recorded in the court documents filed on July 20, 2023.

What do you think about the couple entering a plea deal? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

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