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A couple has been arrested in connection with a $4.5 billion cryptocurrency money laundering conspiracy.

Federal authorities said a married couple was arrested in Manhattan on Tuesday for allegedly attempting to launder $4.5 billion in cryptocurrencies stolen in a huge 2016 theft.

Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, 34, and his rapper wife, Heather Morgan, 31, are accused of conspiring to launder the earnings of 119,754 bitcoin stolen when a hacker broke into the Bitfinex systems.

On his LinkedIn profile, Lichtenstein defines himself as a “Technology entrepreneur, coder, and investor,” and the stolen money was allegedly transferred to a digital wallet managed by him.

Prosecutors said he and his wife, a self-described “Serial Entrepreneur” and “surrealist rap” producer, moved the funds to their accounts using “a complex money laundering technique.”

According to the federal complaint released Tuesday, the pair allegedly spent the illegal proceeds on gold, NFTs, and a $500 Walmart gift card.

Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein have been arrested for allegedly laundering cryptocurrency.

Prosecutors said the couple “used several sophisticated laundering techniques” in the plan, including opening up internet accounts under false names and sending money through the darknet.

Prosecutors claimed the couple had a “burner phones” suitcase loaded with telephones in their Manhattan residence, and that Lichtenstein, a dual Russian-US citizen, kept a file on his computer named “passport ideas.”

Special agents from the Justice Department were able to recover nearly $3.6 billion in bitcoin stolen during the Bitfinex hack, making it the department’s largest-ever financial seizure.

“Today’s arrests, as well as the department’s largest financial seizure ever, demonstrate that cryptocurrencies is not a safe haven for criminals,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

Crypto currency

The couple is accused of plotting to launder the profits of the theft of 119,754 bitcoin.

Bitfinex said it was working with the Department of Justice to “establish our rights to the restoration of stolen bitcoin.”

Lichtenstein and Morgan are accused of conspiring to launder money and defraud the United States.

They might each face a maximum sentence of 25 years if convicted of both counts.

Last year, the couple tied the knot.

According to a Facebook post by Lichtenstein, they were engaged in 2019, and he described his bride as “my closest friend and the woman of my dreams,” as well as “not just a software entrepreneur” but also a “fearless rapper.”

Morgan’s alter ego “Razzlekhan” has published a number of rap songs, which she describes as “like Genghis Khan, but with more pzazz” on her website. According to her Instagram, she also gives productivity advice.

Morgan can be seen bouncing around Wall Street in a gold jacket, leopard-print scarf, sunglasses, and hat with an entourage in one odd 2019 music video dubbed “Rap Anthem for Misfits & Weirdos: Versace Bedouin Music Video,” rapping: “Come real far but I don’t know where I’m headin’.” I’m Wall Street’s motherf–ing crocodile.”

Heather Morgan in a rap video posted to YouTube.

Heather Morgan, also known as “Razzlekhan,” is a rapper.

She also has a song called “Getting high in a cemetery,” which has the line “I love me some grave grass.”

When Lichtenstein and Morgan made their initial appearance in a federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday evening, Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman imposed pre-trial release terms on them.

Lichtenstein’s bond was set at $5 million, with his parents’ house as collateral, five co-signers, and home confinement with electronic surveillance. Morgan’s bond was set at $3 million, with two co-signers and electronic monitoring at home.

About the author

Akanksha Jain

Akanksha Jain love to learn new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for Startup, Business sections of Editorials99.

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