Bitfinex phone

US court clears alleged $4.5B Bitfinex money launderer for employment

In February, the digital currency world was stunned when authorities in the United States announced that they had arrested a New York couple who had allegedly laundered the $4.5 billion stolen from the Bitfinex exchange. In the latest twist to the case, a Washington court has cleared the woman to seek employment.

Heather Morgan was arrested alongside her husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, on the morning of February 8, accused of being the mastermind behind the laundering of billions of dollars stolen from Bitfinex in 2016. She was released a week later.

Morgan, who went by the name ‘Razzlekhan (Genghis Khan but with more pizazz according to her website)’ or ‘The Crocodile of Wall Street,’ was alleged to be in control of a BTC wallet that had held close to 120,000 BTC. She had been able to cash out a chunk of it, but the Department of Justice (DoJ) recovered over 94,000 BTC, valued at $3.6 billion at the time.

In the latest development in her case, a Washington court has reportedly granted her request to have her pre-trial release conditions modified, allowing her to “engage in legitimate employment and receive income of greater than $10,000 per month.”

Bloomberg reports that the prosecutors didn’t oppose her request.

The 31-year-old’s case is still ongoing, with prosecutors seeking to pin her down for being part of a sophisticated crime ring. If Morgan and her husband are convicted, they face up to 25 years behind bars for conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

It took many by surprise when the news broke that Morgan and her husband were behind the $4.5 billion crime. Digital currency heists have been traditionally known to be undertaken by very tech-savvy individuals, many of them top global hackers like the Lazarus Group, and the Manhattan couple was anything but.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups from BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple,
Ethereum, FTX and Tether—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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