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The secret of the largest cryptocurrency theft in history has been revealed

The secret of the largest cryptocurrency theft in history has been revealed

The US Department of Justice announced the confiscation of $3.6 billion in bitcoin and the arrest of a married couple on charges of money laundering. This relates to the largest crypto heist in history during the hack of the Bitfinex cryptocurrency market in 2016. It was also the largest financial forfeiture of the US Department of Justice.

Yesterday in Manhattan, a New York couple, Elijah “Dutch” Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, were arrested. The attorney general accuses them of laundering $4.5 billion. The case was filed in federal court in Washington.

The couple are accused of removing 119,754 stolen bitcoins after a hacker hacked Bitfinex and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions. Justice Department officials said that at the time, the value of transactions amounted to $71 million in bitcoin, but as the currency has risen, that value has now exceeded $4.5 billion.

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Bitfinex said in a statement that it is working with the Department of Justice to “establish our rights to return stolen bitcoins.”

The main fingerprint was found in 2017 in a secret digital market used to launder some money. US officials have revealed that some of the money was donated to AlphaBay, the free version of eBay hosted on the dark web. According to crypto-tracking company Elliptic, when the site was taken down, it likely allowed authorities to access AlphaBay’s internal transaction records and link them to a crypto account created on Lichtenstein. The couple also tried to launder money through a network of foreign exchange exchanges or claimed that the money was payments to the startup Morgan.

The spouses released illegal income, incl. Get Gold and Walmart Gift Cards worth $500. Both had active public profiles on social media, with Heather Morgan known as rapper “Razelkhan” (the nickname was supposed to refer to Genghis Khan “but with more excitement”). In addition to the rapper’s profile, Heather Morgan has worked in drawing, fashion design and writing, presenting herself as a kind of corporate coach. One of her recent work was “Tips to Protect Your Business from Cybercriminals” and she interviewed the owner of a cryptocurrency exchange on how to prevent fraud.

Source: Reuters


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