The couple charged with laundering $4.5 billion in cryptocurrency and conspiracy to defraud the United States through a 2016 hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex have reached a plea deal, according to court documents Friday morning.

As part of the plea deal, the couple has agreed to forfeit proceeds from the almost 120,000 Bitcoin they stand accused of laundering. Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan, both of whom were arrested early last year, are set to appear before a judge on August 3rd, and could face up to 20 years in prison.

U.S. prosecutors said that the culprits employed “numerous sophisticated laundering techniques,” allegedly using false identities, automating transactions, and then depositing the funds on a variety of exchanges and darknet markets–a process known as “layering.”


Upon arrest in February 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) seized $3.6 billion, considered the department's “largest financial seizure ever,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. But many questions about how the hack and subsequent seizure of funds happened were left unanswered.

According to court documents, both parties allegedly conspired to launder 119,754 Bitcoins, all stolen from the Bitfinex platform when it was hacked in 2016. Recently, the company recovered a small amount of the Bitcoin Cash that was stolen in the notorious hack.

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