A New York couple has been arrested and charged with conspiring to launder $4.5 billion in stolen cryptocurrency, and coin market funds. Law enforcement officials have seized $3.6 billion of those funds in what US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco called “the department’s largest financial seizure ever.”
Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, are accused of trying to launder money taken in a huge hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2016.
The arrests and money seizure mark a win for US law enforcement amid a slew of heists from cryptocurrency platforms. Hackers have in recent years made off with hundreds of millions of dollars at times in attacks on virtual currency exchanges.
Lichtenstein and Morgan are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries up to 20 years in prison, and conspiracy to defraud the US, which carries up to five years in prison, according to Justice officials. An attorney for the couple could not be immediately reached for comment.
The division didn’t declare charges for the real hack of Bitfinex, and Justice Department authorities declined to remark further, referring to a continuous examination.
Bitcoin Is The Move
As the cost of ransomware and different hacks have developed in the economy, regulation authorization organizations have looked to all the more forcefully track and hold onto the digital currency frequently utilized by criminal programmers. US authorities last year recuperated $2.3 million of the $4.4 million in recovery that Colonial Pipeline paid to a Russian-communicating posse.
“This shows that in any event, when refined tax evasion strategies are utilized, the permanent blockchain records for the most part permit regulation requirement to interface crime to people,” Tom Robinson, co-founder of cryptocurrency analysis firm Elliptic, told CNN.
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