The pair could face up to 20 years in prison for allegedly laundering $4.5 billion in cryptocurrencies

Please contact:The government seized $3.6 billion in stolen cryptocurrencies, directly linked to the 2016 hacking of virtual currency transactions. This news is fresh and alarming.Just yesterday morning IN the US, two people were arrested in Manhattan on charges of allegedly conspiring to launder cryptocurrency that was stolen during the 2016 theft of virtual currency exchange Bitfinex and is now worth about $4.5bn.So far, law enforcement has seized more than $3.6 billion in cryptocurrencies linked to the hack.””Today’s arrests and the largest financial seizure in the department’s history demonstrate that cryptocurrencies are not a safe haven for criminals,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.In a futile effort to maintain anonymity, defendants laundered stolen funds through a maze of cryptocurrency transactions.Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department has once again demonstrated its ability to follow money, no matter what form it takes to escape.””Today, federal law enforcement once again proved that we can track money through blockchain, and that we will not allow cryptocurrencies to become a haven for money laundering or an outlaw place within our financial system.”Kenneth A. Polite Jr., assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.”Today’s arrests demonstrate that we will take a firm stand against those who allegedly seek to use virtual currencies for criminal purposes,” he said.Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, both from New York, are scheduled to make their first court appearance today at 3 p.m. in federal court in Manhattan.Lichtenstein and Morgan allegedly conspired to launder the proceeds of 119,754 Bitcoins that were stolen from Bitfinex’s platform after a hacker broke into Bitfinex’s system and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions, according to court documents.The unauthorized transactions sent stolen bitcoins to a digital wallet controlled by Lichtenstein.Over the past five years, about 25,000 of those stolen bitcoins were removed from Lichtenstein’s wallet through a complex money-laundering process that ended up depositing some of the stolen money into financial accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and Morgan.The rest of the stolen money, including more than 94,000 Bitcoins, remains in wallets used to receive and store the hackers’ ill-gotten gains.After executing court-authorized search warrants on online accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and Morgan, agents obtained documents from online accounts controlled by Lichtenstein.The files contained private keys needed to access digital wallets that directly received money stolen from Bitfinex, and enabled agents to legally seize and recover more than 94,000 bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex.The recovered bitcoins were worth more than $3.6 billion at the time of seizure.Matthew M. Graves, US Attorney for the District of Columbia, said: “Cryptocurrencies and the virtual currency exchanges in which they are traded form an extended part of the US financial system, but digital currency heists through sophisticated money-laundering schemes could undermine confidence in cryptocurrencies.The Department of Justice and our office stand ready to counter these threats by using 21st century investigative techniques to recover stolen funds and hold perpetrators accountable.”The criminal complaint alleges that Lichtenstein and Morgan used a number of sophisticated money-laundering techniques, including setting up online accounts using fictitious identities;Using a computer program to automate transactions, the money laundering technique can carry out many transactions in a short period of time.The stolen money deposited in the various virtual currency exchange and dark net market account, and then extract the money, by destroying capital always mix up a transaction of traces of history, will be the currency is converted to other forms of virtual currency, virtual currency for enhancing anonymity (AEC), and it was known as the “jump” chain, and use American business account giving legal recognition to its banking activities.”In a methodical and elaborate scheme, the defendants allegedly laundered and concealed their substantial wealth,” said Jim Lee, director of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.Agents from the IRS-CI cyber Crime unit once again uncovered a sophisticated money laundering technique that allowed them to track, access and seize stolen funds in the largest cryptocurrency seizure to date, worth more than $3.6 billion.””Criminals always leave a trail, and today’s case is a reminder that the FBI has the tools to follow digital leads wherever they may lead,””Thanks to the persistent and focused work of our FBI investigative teams and law enforcement partners, we are able to uncover the origins of even the most sophisticated schemes and bring to justice those who seek to exploit the security of our financial infrastructure,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abate.”Financial crime strikes at the heart of our national and economic security.With hacks of this magnitude, public-private cooperation is critical to ensuring continued consumer confidence in our financial system, “said Steve Francis, acting Executive Deputy director of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).”Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan sought to subvert legitimate business activities for their own nefarious purposes and conduct their business anonymously.Today’s action demonstrates Hang Seng’s commitment and ability to uncover these technology fraud schemes and identify the perpetrators, wherever they operate.”Lichtenstein and Morgan are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.Although the whole story is about “thieves” in cryptocurrencies, as far as the cryptocurrency sector itself is concerned, yuppie would like to remind everyone to pay attention to compliance, especially in some areas, if you are not careful enough, it is easy to be regarded as a leader.The investigation was led by the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Irs’s Washington, D.C., field office, the FBI’s Chicago field Office and HSI in New York.The Ansbach Police Department in Germany is assisting in the investigation.The case was brought by trial attorney Jessica Peck of the Justice Department’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Division and C.Alden Pelk and Christopher B. Brown, assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.Valuable assistance was provided by paralegal specialists Angela De Falco and Brian Rickers and legal assistant Jessica McCormick.Trial counsel Christen Gallagher of the Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Southern District of New York, HSI-Philadelphia, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica C. Brooks also provided important assistance.

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