Daily Management Review

U.S. prosecutors seize a record $5B worth of bitcoins


The U.S. Justice Department reported a record seizure of bitcoins worth $5 billion. The cryptocurrency was stolen in 2016. Then, hackers hacked the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange and stole 120,000 bitcoins.

The U.S. Department of Justice conducted the largest cryptocurrency seizure in history - 120,000 bitcoins worth more than $5 billion, CNN reported, citing prosecutors. Bitcoins were stolen in 2016, as a result of a hack of the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. At the time, they were valued at $71 million. 

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite said the cryptocurrency seizure is strong evidence that U.S. authorities "will not allow cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering or a lawless zone in our financial system." According to the DOJ, an unknown hacker broke into the Bitfinex crypto exchange in 2016 and made 2,000 illegal transactions. He transferred the cryptocurrency to a digital wallet operated by 34-year-old Ilya Lichtenstein of New York.

Prosecutors charged Lichtenstein and his wife, 31-year-old Heather Morgan, with attempted money laundering. According to the investigation, the couple laundered about 25,000 stolen bitcoins through various accounts over the past five years. To do so, prosecutors believe, they used a variety of methods to cover their tracks, from fake identities to converting bitcoins into other digital currencies. Investigators from Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Ansbach, Germany, participated in the investigation.

source: cnn.com