US department of justice has seized $3.6 Billion worth of bitcoin from a couple. These coins were allegedly stolen in the Bitfinex hack back in 2016.
Two people identified as Ilya ‘Dutch’ Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan were arrested in New York on the charges of trying to launder the money gained from the Bitfinex exchange hack of 2016. Lichtenstein and Heather are a married couple. Their wallets received funds stolen from the hack.
The popular crypto exchange Bitfinex got hacked in 2016. The hackers managed to steal 125,000 BTC valued at $6 million at that time. Today’s price increased the coin’s worth to $4.2 Billion. However, the department of justice was successful in recovering only 94,000 Bitcoin which stand at $3.6 Billion.
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The money came to Lichenstein’s wallet via some unauthorized transaction. Around 25,000 BTC were moved out while 94,000 remained in the account. DoJ later seized the assets.
“After the execution of court-authorized search warrants of online accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and Morgan, special agents obtained access to files within an online account controlled by Lichtenstein,” read the press release. “Those files contained the private keys required to access the digital wallet that directly received the funds stolen from Bitfinex, and allowed special agents to lawfully seize and recover more than 94,000 bitcoin that had been stolen from Bitfinex. The recovered bitcoin was valued at over $3.6 billion at the time of seizure.”
Morgan and Lichtenstein are implicated in the crime of receiving the proceeds of the Bitcoin hack. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether they were the original hackers or not.
Meanwhile, Bitfinex intends to recover the stolen bitcoin by working closely with the Department of Justice. The statement from the company said:
“Bitfinex will work with the DOJ and follow appropriate legal processes to establish our rights to a return of the stolen bitcoin. Bitfinex intends to provide further updates on its efforts to obtain a return of the stolen bitcoin as and when those updates are available”.