Justice Department Recovers Bitfinex Hack Funds In Largest Ever Financial Seizure


The FBI has arrested a husband and wife in Manhattan for allegedly conspiring to launder swaths of Bitcoin connected to the 2016 Bitfinex exchange hack. According to Reuters, over $3.6 billion worth of the asset has already been recovered by law enforcement.

  • The couple allegedly responsible is Ilya Lichtenstein (34) and Heather Morgan (31).
  • They are accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 Bitcoin after an attacker stole them through over 20,000 unauthorized transactions at the exchange in 2016.
  • Though the funds were worth just $71.8 million at the time of the hack, they are valued today at over $4.5 billion. This total even rivals MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin holdings, which are currently near 125,000 Bitcoin.
  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco remarked on the seizure, asserting that cryptocurrency is “not a safe haven for criminals”.
  • The arrest comes a week after tens of thousands of Bitcoin– about the same amount seized today – were caught moving from the initial hacker’s wallet in 2016, across 26 separate transactions.
  • “The FBI and federal prosecutors were able to trace the movement of Bitcoin from this hack,” said Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
  • The couple is expected to appear in Federal court at 3 pm EST today.
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