Justice Department recovers $3.6 billion in Bitcoin from 2016 Bitfinex hack

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The Department of Justice has seized roughly $3.6 billion price of Bitcoin stolen in the of Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency change Bitfinex. At the time, the incident was the second-largest heist of its sort, with a hacker stealing 119,756 items of Bitcoin, then valued at roughly $63.7 million. On Tuesday, the Justice Department the seizure of greater than 94,000 Bitcoins and the arrest of the duo who allegedly tried to launder the fortune.

According to the company, husband and spouse Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan obtained the cryptocurrency after a hacker breached Bitfinex’s techniques and initiated greater than 2,000 unlawful transactions. The cryptocurrency was deposited in a digital pockets managed by Lichtenstein. The two then allegedly spent the following 5 years shifting greater than 25,000 Bitcoins utilizing a “complicated” laundering course of that finally noticed among the money find yourself in their monetary accounts. Following a courtroom order, federal brokers obtained on-line information from Lichtenstein that included the non-public keys to the digital pockets that held the stolen cryptocurrency.

“Cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco mentioned. “Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter the form it takes.”

The case marks the most important monetary seizure in the Justice Department’s 151-year historical past. Before right now, its largest cryptocurrency seizure concerned the Silk Road darkish net market. In 2020, the company recovered 69,000 Bitcoins, price about $1 billion on the time. Lichtenstein and Morgan resist 25 years in jail if convicted on the money laundering and conspiracy fees introduced ahead by the Justice Department.

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