Couple Accused of Laundering Bitfinex Hack Money Seeks Plea Deal

Back in 2016, the Bitfinexcrypto exchange was hacked and Heather Morgan and her husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, had been accused of being involved in it. They were allegedly laundering the funds that had been taken in the hack. However, a case hearing related to the matter just got postponed. The couple’s arrest came about with the assistance of the US Department of Justice and they were able to recover a total of 119,754 coins. This Bitcoin had been stolen from the Bitfinex exchange when it had been hacked almost six years ago.

The couple had become renowned as the ‘Crocodile of Wall Street’ because they were accused of trying to launder the funds that had been stolen in 2016 when the Bitfinex exchange had been compromised. The discovery that the couple had laundered the stolen funds had resulted in the argument in the crypto community. People went on to claim that illicit activities could not be conducted with cryptocurrencies because it was possible to monitor their transactions easily. According to the latest development, it seems that the husband and wife had been talking to the Department of Justice about a potential plea deal.

The hearing of the case had been scheduled to take place in Washington in a federal court on June 3rd, but now they have decided to postpone the court date. The delay was because of the federal prosecutors who want the hearing to be scheduled on August 2nd. According to the prosecutors, they require more time for going through the financial documents that are connected to the case. They also disclosed that they were also contemplating a potential plea deal for the couple. At the time of their arrest, the authorities had managed to seize Bitcoin valued at $3.6 billion and they had also successfully linked it to the Bitfinex hack.

The Deputy Attorney general of the US, Lisa Monaco had said that this was the largest financial confiscation that the department had ever made. No charges were filed against the couple in regard to the actual hack of the crypto exchange in 2016. It should be noted that the only accusations that have been filed against the husband and wife are for laundering the proceeds of the hacks. As per the allegations, they had initiated about 2,000 illegal transactions for this purpose. At the time of the hack, the value of the Bitcoin stolen had stood at $72 million.

But, since then, the pioneer cryptocurrency has seen its price go up significantly and it was valued at a whopping $4.5 billion. According to the Bitfinex exchange, it had been cooperating with the Department of Justice for investigating the entire incident. The exchange was also pleased to discover that the authorities had managed to recover the huge amount of the world’s first crypto that had been stolen in the incident. Despite suffering from the hack and undergoing massive losses as a result, the exchange has managed to stay operational and is offering its services to this day.