A ‘Bitcoin Bonnie and Clyde’ Plead Guilty to a $4.5 Billion Cryptocurrency-Laundering Scheme

On Thursday, Russian-born tech entrepreneur Ilya Lichtenstein and his rapper wife Heather Morgan pleaded guilty to orchestrating a $4.5 billion money laundering scheme in 2016. Immediately dubbed “Bitcoin Bonnie and Clyde”, the duo were arrested last year, which resulted in the Justice Department’s biggest financial seizure yet. Investigations reveal that Lichtenstein had gained unauthorized access to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex by deploying advanced tools and methods, allowing him to “fraudulently authorize over 2,000 transactions and transfer nearly BTC120,000 to a personal cryptocurrency wallet of his own. In a bid to hide his tracks, the married couple enlisted help to also launder the stolen funds.

X-iting the rap scene as “Razzlekhan” and claiming to make the “weird kids feel at home”, Morgan’s fame has taken a U-turn.

Lichtenstein faces charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, with an applicable maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. His other half has pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, with the sentence possibly escalated to 10 years in jail. Both defendants could receive leniency in consideration to fulfilling their partnership with prosecutors. Whether this would effectively mitigate the crime of stealing billions is, however, left to be decided.

Robert Wilson author
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