Bitfinex Hack – US seizes $3.6 Billion in Bitcoin Stolen

Bitfinex Hack – this is the largest financial forfeiture ever by a US financial agency, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.

The US Department of Justice has announced that it has seized more than $3.6 billion in stolen cryptocurrency in connection with the 2016 Bitfinex hack.

Officials have arrested Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31 (of New York) on charges of laundering digital goods.

Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions.

The couple are scheduled to appear for the first time in federal court on February 9.

Authorities accused the pair of attempting to launder the proceeds of 119,754 Bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex’s platform after a hacker breached Bitfinex’s systems and executed more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.

Bitcoin, like many virtual currencies, can be volatile in price and has skyrocketed since 2016. The $3.6 billion that the Justice Department recovered was the value of bitcoin at the time of seizure that occurred last week, officials said. The total current value of bitcoins stolen in connection with the hack is valued at around $4.5 billion, but only about 94,000 of the roughly 119,754 bitcoins stolen is recovered.

Prosecutors allege that the transactions sent the stolen Bitcoins to Lichtenstein’s digital wallet.