The US announced on Tuesday (February 8th) that it had recovered more than 94,000 bitcoins stolen in 2016 on the Bitfinex digital trading platform, which are now valued at $ 3.6 billion, a new record for a judicial confiscation.
A couple was arrested this morning in New York on suspicion of attempting to "launder" stolen bitcoins "in a maze of cryptocurrency transactions," according to a press release from the Justice Department.
Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and Heather Morgan, 31, will appear in front of a federal judge. "These arrests and this financial seizure, the most important one ever made by the ministry, show that cryptocurrencies are not a refuge for criminals," Deputy Justice Minister Liza Monaco told in a press release. In August 2016, a hacker gained access to the Bitfinex platform and carried out over 2,000 unauthorized transactions, resulting in the theft of nearly 120,000 bitcoins, valued at $ 65 million at the time.
The digital coins were then discovered in a digital wallet controlled by Ilia Liechtenstein, who is described on social media as a "technology entrepreneur and investor," according to prosecutors.
The maze of cryptocurrency transactions
25,000 bitcoins were removed from this "wallet" over the next five years via a "maze of cryptocurrency transactions" and were primarily used to buy gold or NFTs (non fungible tokens).
The rest, valued at $3.6 billion, was recovered by US investigators last week, who urged victims of the original theft to report it to them for compensation.
The authorities state that the investigation is ongoing, but they did not provide any additional information about the original piracy perpetrator.
By fLEXI tEAM