A couple was arrested in Manhattan, and a recovery of $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin made, for attempting to launder funds stolen during the 2016 Bitfinex hack.
Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan are expected to make their first appearance in the federal court at 3 PM New York time to answer the charges.
The two suspects conspired to launder 119,754 bitcoins worth about $4.5 billion through a series of transactions. The authorities allege that Lichtenstein and Morgan used complex laundering techniques in anonymous online accounts and computer programs to automate transactions.
The agents got access to the funds through an account directly owned by Lichtenstein with private keys to another account that received the stolen assets. 94,000 BTC worth $3.6 billion were seized in the process.
The two now face charges related to a conspiracy to commit money laundering, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years, and conspiracy to defraud the United States, which has a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
Hackers violated Bitfinex’s security in 2016 and executed over 2,000 unauthorized transactions where the assets were sent to one of the suspect’s wallets.