US Seizes $3.6 Billion Worth of Stole Bitcoin

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Feb 09, 2022

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US authorities recovered Bitcoin worth over $3.6 billion stolen in a cryptocurrency exchange hack. They arrested a couple that was attempting to launder the stolen assets.

The Largest Financial Seizure Ever

The US Justice Department announced that it seized more than $3.6 billion in Bitcoin linked to a 2016 hack. An attacker carted away nearly 120,000 coins after breaching cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex nearly six years ago. Officials were able to seize more than 94,000 of that, they revealed on Tuesday.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed in a statement that it is the agency’s largest financial recovery ever.

Law enforcement officials arrested a New York City couple in connection with the hack for conspiring to launder the funds. 34-year-old Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, were charged. Filed court documents did not accuse them of the hack, according to The Washington Post.

“Today, federal law enforcement demonstrates once again that we can follow the money through the blockchain, and that we will not allow cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jnr.

The accused couple used “numerous sophisticated laundering techniques” in an attempt to clean up the stolen assets. They face up to 25 years in prison if found guilty.

When they were stolen in 2016, the coins were worth about $71 million. Following the meteoric rise in the price of Bitcoin since then, the value has since soared.

Cryptocurrency platforms have had to face a barrage of cyberattacks in recent months. Earlier this month, hackers exploited Wormhole, a blockchain bridge platform, to steal more than $320 million.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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