- If convicted, both crimes will be sentenced to a total of up to 25 years in prison.
- In a statement, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Lisa Monaco said this was the ministry’s largest financial seizure in history.
The US government has recovered most of the cryptocurrencies stolen during the 2016 Bitfinex hack and arrested a couple allegedly associated with it.
In 2016, a cryptocurrency exchange with a current value of approximately $ 4.5 billion was used. The Justice Department said Tuesday that law enforcement agencies have regained more than $ 3.6 billion so far.
In a statement, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Lisa Monaco said this was the ministry’s largest financial seizure in history. “”[Today’s arrests] Show that cryptocurrencies are not a safe haven for criminals, “Monaco said.
New York-based Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and Heather Morgan, 31, were arrested for cryptocurrency and money laundering plots stolen during a hack six years ago. They were also charged with a plot to deceive the United States.
If convicted, both offenses can result in imprisonment of up to 25 years in total. They will first appear in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon.
“In a wasteful effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendant laundered the money stolen through the labyrinth of cryptocurrency trading,” Monaco said. “Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement agencies, the department has once again shown how it can and how it can track money, whatever its form. rice field.”
Lichtenstein and Morgan reportedly colluded to launder 119,754 Bitcoins stolen from the platform after a hacker broke the system and made more than 2,000 fraudulent transactions.
“These fraudulent transactions sent the stolen Bitcoins to a digital wallet under the control of Lichtenstein,” according to court documents. “In the last five years, about 25,000 of these stolen Bitcoins have been transferred from Lichtenstein’s wallet through a complex money laundering process, with some of the stolen funds being financial accounts managed by Lichtenstein and Morgan. It was deposited in. “
The rest of the stolen funds, about 94,000 Bitcoins, will remain in the wallet used in the hack.
The complaint alleges that the couple used several laundry techniques, such as using a fictitious ID to set up an online account and using a computer program to automate transactions.
“Financial crime is at the heart of our national and economic security,” Deputy Director of Homeland Security Steve Francis said in a statement. “At this scale of hacking, collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential to ensure continued consumer confidence in our financial system.”
Cryptographic platforms have generally been hit by many exploits, including some that took place this year.
Earlier this month, hackers stole 120 ethers, or $ 320 million, from the wormhole protocol in the second-largest DeFi hack to date.
At the end of January, the DeFi protocol Qubit Finance lost millions of dollars in hacks after 206,809 Binance Coins (about $ 80 million) were stolen.
No comment was received from the Justice Department on Tuesday.
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