The crypto-fraud couple pleaded guilty. They “laundered” Bitcoins worth $4.5 billion

The crypto-fraud couple pleaded guilty.  They "laundered" Bitcoins worth $4.5 billion

Breakthrough in the case of the biggest scam in the history of cryptocurrencies. A married couple linked to Russia stole and laundered $4.5 billion worth of Bitcoins.

She pretended to be a rapper, he set up companies to trade cryptocurrencies. All this to cover a gigantic theft of digital assets from the Bitfinex exchange.

The biggest crypto scam in history

Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein pleaded guilty. They were charged with theft and money laundering. In 2016, the couple stole 119,000 Bitcoins from clients of the Bitfinex exchange, which were worth about $71 million at the time, and already $4.5 billion at the time of their arrest in 2022. The U.S. Department of Justice said it was the largest case of its kind in history. The couple faces up to 20 years in prison.

As reported, they used a very complex network of mechanisms that were supposed to allow the money from the fraud to be put into circulation. Russian Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, who pretended to be a rapper, created a network of money laundering companies. They also split the stolen sum into small amounts, which they transferred to thousands of cryptocurrency wallets created with fake identities. Some of the funds were also used for darknet purchases and gold purchases.

They fell for stupidity

The couple got hit by the fact that in order to use the stolen money, they used some of the funds to buy gift certificates at Walmart. This is how the investigators managed to reach the fraudsters, and as a result of the investigation, to work out a complicated network of connections that allowed them to launder the stolen money.

More than $40,000 in cash, burnt documents, and hollowed-out books containing cell phones used to carry out illegal transactions were found at the home of the perpetrators in New York.

During the investigation, it came to light that the couple planned to flee the United States to Russia. As said, if they succeeded, they would live the life of billionaires, without fear of legal consequences.

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