In a significant development, Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, the couple involved in the Bitfinex money laundering scheme related to the 2016 hack, have reached a plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors. This agreement will see them appearing for an arraignment and hearing on August 3.

The Allegations and Charges

The couple is facing charges of money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. This is according to recently filed records with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 21. Also, they are expected to forfeit digital assets connected to the case. This is as a result of their plea agreement with the prosecutors.

The Bitfinex Hack and Money Laundering

The saga began in August 2016 when crypto exchange Bitfinex suffered a significant hack. The hack resulted in the theft of approximately 119,754 Bitcoin. In the aftermath, the couple allegedly took part in a money laundering scheme, involving over 94,643 BTC of the stolen funds.


The laundering was executed through a series of intricate transactions spread across multiple accounts and platforms.

Arrest and Seizure

In a major breakthrough for the case, the authorities arrested the duo in New York in February 2022. Simultaneously, they seized the laundered BTC, which was valued at around $54 million during the time of the hack. However, it had significantly appreciated to $3.6 billion at the time of publication.

At the time of Ilya Lichtenstein’s and Heather Morgan’s arrests, the confiscated Bitcoin represented the largest financial seizure ever executed by the U.S. Department of Justice. While some individuals involved in the hack had periodically moved smaller amounts of BTC, authorities had only returned a limited portion to Bitfinex, aiming to restore victims’ funds.

Read More:

Ripple Forms New Partnership to Test Issuance of CBDCs and Stablecoins

Bitcoin No Longer Preferred Choice for Criminals, Stablecoins Take the Lead – Insights from Former Elliptic Crypto Advisor