The 2016 Bitfinex cryptocurrency theft is one of the biggest cryptocurrency heists. The US Justice Department has executed one of the biggest cryptocurrency seizures in history and has confiscated Cryptocurrency worth $3.6 billion reports cpomagazine.com. The 2016 Bitfinex cryptocurrency theft was estimated to be worth $3.6 billion.
DOJ Recovers $3.6 Billion in Bitcoin from Couple
Agents of the Justice Department have taken into custody a Manhattan married couple, Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31. The couple has been charged with money laundering, and it carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Lichtenstein and Morgan have been charged for laundering the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoin that were stolen from Bitfinex after an attacker compromised the platform. The attacker later initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.
Couple Charged in the 2016 Bitfinex Cryptocurrency Theft
A U.S. Judge, Debra Freeman, ordered the release of the couple Lichtenstein and Morgan on a $5 million and $3 million bond, respectively. The duo carries dual citizenship, U.S. and Russian, and the Judge warned them not to flee the country. The prosecutor opposed the bail plea saying that the couple could flee the country. However, the defense counsel managed to convince the Judge that despite knowledge of them as a subject in the ongoing investigation about the 2016 Bitfinex cryptocurrency theft, the two had not fled the country.
The couple will, however, be under house arrest and electronic monitoring. They also have been debarred from conducting any cryptocurrency-related activities. Bitfinex has hailed the operation and is doing everything to ensure the return of the stolen bitcoin. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said a clear message had been sent to criminals that Cryptocurrency cannot become a haven for laundering their ill-gotten money.
The Justice Department was able to crack the 2016 Bitfinex cryptocurrency theft when they could bust an underground marketplace AlphaBay. The couple used it to launder their ill-gotten gains. Law enforcement agents obtained transaction logs that traced to Lichtenstein’s cryptocurrency account.
However, 94000 BTC remained in the wallet which received the looted BTC from the 2016 Bitfinex cryptocurrency theft. Investigators obtained the wallet’s private keys, seizing the stolen bitcoins valued at $3.6 billion.