The US Department of Justice recovers Bitcoin worth more than $4 billion, the highest seizure ever

The US Department of Justice recovers Bitcoin worth more than $4 billion, the highest seizure ever

Bitcoin News
February 10, 2022 by Editor's Desk
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Officials accused two persons on Tuesday of attempting to launder money taken in 2016 by a hacker who broke into the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. The hacker is said to have made off with around 120,000 Bitcoin. It was once valued at around $71 million, but now it is worth more than $5 billion. A total
The US Department of Justice recovers Bitcoin worth more than $4 billion, the highest seizure ever

Officials accused two persons on Tuesday of attempting to launder money taken in 2016 by a hacker who broke into the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. The hacker is said to have made off with around 120,000 Bitcoin. It was once valued at around $71 million, but now it is worth more than $5 billion. A total of 94,000 bitcoins were retrieved.

The lengthy investigation involved investigators from Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, and Ansbach, Germany. Bitfinex said that it had cooperated with the investigation and was “pleased” that the monies had been recovered.

Kenneth Polite Jr., ASST ATTORNEY-GENERAL, said

The seizure was proof the government will not allow cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system. Money that comes from a 2016 hack can lead back to suspects.

The hacker allegedly acquired $5 million by illegally accessing the platform and then funneled the money into a digital wallet thought to be run by Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, of New York. Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, were charged with laundering stolen bitcoin over the past five years and using various methods to cover their tracks.

Investigators from Washington, New York, Chicago, and Ansbach, Germany, collaborated on the lengthy probe. On Tuesday, Lichtenstein and Morgan are set to appear before a federal judge to answer charges of conspiracy. If found guilty, they could each spend up to 25 years in prison.

Authorities are seizing significant amounts of funds from digital currency traders. Last year, our team seized some $2.3m in crypto – the largest financial seizure ever by the Cybercrime Unit. This came as a result of our efforts to recover ransom payments made by Colonial Pipeline after their system was breached through a cyberattack.