• February 28, 2024

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US Department of Justice Seizes $3.6B in Bitcoin Stolen From Crypto Exchange Bitfinex

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The Department of Justice of the United States has today announced it has confiscated more than $3.6 billion in Bitcoin stolen from crypto exchange Bitfinex in 2016. In addition, 34-year-old Ilya Lichtenstein and his 31-year-old wife Heather Morgan have been arrested in New York accused of trying to launder cryptos.

They are said to have made over 2,000 “unauthorized transactions” to hide the origin of the 119,754 BTC stolen from the cryptocurrency exchange 6 years ago.

The prosecution alleges that the Bitcoins were transferred to a Liechtenstein-controlled digital wallet. Of the total amount, the US law enforcement officers have managed to confiscate around 94,000 BTC. According to the announcement:

“Following the execution of court-approved warrants, special agents gained access to files in an online account controlled by Liechtenstein. These files contained the private keys needed to access the digital wallet that directly received the funds stolen from Bitfinex, allowing special agents to legally seize and return more than 94,000 bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex.”

The Department of Justice has noted this is the largest case of crypto confiscation in US history and one of the largest cases under the new program to investigate crimes using digital assets.