New York couple ready to plead guilty in $4.5 billion bitcoin-laundering case

Source: Adobe/Bits and Splits

A married New York couple is preparing to plead guilty to conspiracy to embezzle billions of dollars bitcoin (btc)which was stolen during the infamous hack of the crypto exchange in 2016 Bitfinex,

Ilya Lichtenstein And Heather MorganThe Wall Street Journal, citing a court document, reported that those charged after investigators used software to trace stolen digital currency last February are preparing a plea deal.

The defendants had already been charged with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Notably, he was not involved in the actual hacking of Bitfinex’s network, in which over $71 million worth of bitcoin was moved to an external account through over 2,000 unauthorized transfers.

By the time Morgan and Lichtenstein were arrested, the stolen cryptocurrency had grown to $4.5 billion.

At the time, prosecutors said more than $3.6 billion in bitcoin linked to the hack had been seized.

US District Judge Colleen Koller-Cotelli has set a hearing on the petition for August 3, 2022.

Morgan, who has been placed under house arrest, and Lichtenstein, who has been in custody since the charges were filed, will enter their closing arguments on that date.

The specific charges they will plead to have not been disclosed. Morgan’s attorney declined to comment, while attorneys representing Lichtenstein did not respond to requests for comment.

The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is responsible for handling the case.

Who are Morgan and Lichtenstein?

Morgan and Lichtenstein, who lived in a lower Manhattan apartment at the time of their arrest, were involved in marketing-related businesses.

Under the moniker Razalkhan, Morgan pursued a career as a rapper and called himself the “Alligator of Wall Street” in one of his songs dedicated to hackers and entrepreneurs.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Morgan holds a Master of Arts degree in International Economic Development. American University in CairoEgypt, and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations University of California, DavisAmerica.

On the other hand, Morgan’s partner Lichtenstein is a tech entrepreneur and founder of a blockchain start-up endpassA cross-platform offline password management app that seeks to “securely store passwords” to “prevent fraud and terrorism”.

During a search of the couple’s residence, investigators found a cache of burner phones, $40,000 in cash and an electronic file containing fake identities used to open bitcoin accounts.

Prosecutors also revealed the existence of a separate file that provided instructions for purchasing passports via the dark web.

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