On Tuesday, the Justice Department declared that they had seized an amount worth more than $3.6 billion in reportedly thieve of cryptocurrency associated with the Bitfinex 2016’s hack. During the operation, authorities have confined a couple hailing from New York. There are allegations that the couple plan to launder the virtual assets.
It is important to describe some details about Bitfinex. It is a virtual currency exchange that is Hong-kong based. In 2016 their system was attacked and became a reason for a sharp drop in bitcoin.
According to the officials, they have arrested a man named Ilya Lichtenstein, who is 34 years old, and his wife named Heather Morgan, who is 31. Moreover, according to the schedule, the couple had to appear in the federal court yesterday. Lichtenstein and his wife’s legal representation was not clear straight away.
Authorities have indicted them for attempting to launder 119,754 bitcoin that was thieved from Bitfinex’s platform. An attacker had breached the systems of Bitfinex and had done more than 2,000 illegal transactions.
According to the prosecutor’s allegations, this stolen bitcoin was sent to the digital wallet of Lichtenstein. Furthermore, the officials said that they could seize 94,000+ bitcoin, and at the time of the seizure, their worth was almost $3.6 billion. But according to the agency, currently, the value of that stolen bitcoin is $4.5 billion.
In a statement, Assistant Attorney Journal named Kenneth Polite Jr said, “Today federal law enforcement demonstrates once again that we can follow the money through the blockchain. He added that we will not allow cryptocurrency to be a haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system.”
Now, the couple has been charged with conspiracy for committing the heinous crime of money laundering, and according to that law, they will get a maximum penalty of twenty years in Jail. In addition to this, when it comes to the conspiracy of defrauding the USA, the maximum punishment is 5 years in prison.
It is worth mentioning that it is not the new thing in the crypto world. Mainly, in recent months, such scams have significantly increased. According to the blockchain analytics named Chainalysis, the scammers have looted a record $14 billion digital currency in 2021.
If we talk about 2022, the most recent and significant incident was Wormhole. The famous bridge linking Solana and Ethereum blockchains had been deprived of approximately $320 million due to a hack.
Such kinds of scams and frauds have become more common in crypto. Nowadays, most crypto enthusiasts are claiming that crypto is the future. So, to make it true, it is imperative to make more complex systems, and there should be some strict rules and regulations that can make cryptocurrency more transparent and free of scams. Furthermore, hearing such news daily alleviates people’s trust in cryptocurrency, and all these things are not in favor of crypto.
What is your stance on it? Share your worthy thoughts in the comment section.