The U.S. Department of Justice seized $4.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen during 2016's hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex in the largest financial seizure ever executed by the department.
What Happened: Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, were arrested in Manhattan on Tuesday morning and made their initial appearance in court on the same day, according to an ABC News report. The pair is accused of having conspired to launder the 119,754 BTC stolen in the aforementioned hack.
The hacker that breached Bitfinex purportedly laundered roughly 25,000 of the stolen Bitcoins after moving them to a wallet under Lichtenstein's control, with some being directed to accounts that both he and his wife controlled. The agents managed to seize the remaining 94,000 BTC — equivalent to $4.15 billion as of press time.
Also Read: Hackers Move $3.55B In Stolen Bitcoin After 6 Years
Lichtenstein and Morgan are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The former carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the latter carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The two are not charged with compromising Bitfinex, and the Department of Justice's investigation continues to look for those responsible for the hack.
BTC Price Action: As of press time, Bitcoin is trading at about $44,200 after slumping by over 5.3% from today's high of $45,250 down to $42,850 in just a couple of hours. Despite the volatility, Bitcoin's price is still 0.5% higher than 24 hours ago.
Photo: Courtesy of Credit: BeatingBetting.co on Flickr
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