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Justice Department Recovers Bitfinex Hack Funds In Largest Ever Financial Seizure


US authorities have tracked down most of the Bitcoin stolen from Bitfinex, after the coins finally moved addresses last week. 

The FBI has arrested a husband and wife in Manhattan for allegedly conspiring to launder swaths of Bitcoin connected to the 2016 Bitfinex exchange hack. According to Reuters, over $3.6 billion worth of the asset has already been recovered by law enforcement.

  • The couple allegedly responsible is Ilya Lichtenstein (34) and Heather Morgan (31).
  • They are accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 Bitcoin after an attacker stole them through over 20,000 unauthorized transactions at the exchange in 2016.
  • Though the funds were worth just $71.8 million at the time of the hack, they are valued today at over $4.5 billion. This total even rivals MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin holdings, which are currently near 125,000 Bitcoin.
  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco remarked on the seizure, asserting that cryptocurrency is “not a safe haven for criminals”.
  • The arrest comes a week after tens of thousands of Bitcoin– about the same amount seized today – were caught moving from the initial hacker’s wallet in 2016, across 26 separate transactions.
  • “The FBI and federal prosecutors were able to trace the movement of Bitcoin from this hack,” said Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
  • The couple is expected to appear in Federal court at 3 pm EST today.




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