There is yet another story of cryptocurrency theft from February 9th, 2022. The alleged thief laundered over 94,500 in Bitcoin. This news was announced by the US federal agency – the Department of Justice. The alleged thief and his accomplice are Ilya Lichtenstein of Mixrank and Heather Morgan, a Forbes contributor.
Per the DOJ announcement, they seized the highest amount of cryptocurrency to date. Bitcoins were stolen in the 2016 August Bitfinex attack. Ilya Lichtenstein breached the Bitfinex website and made off with 120,000 BTC. Bitcoin prices tanked right after this attack and lost 22% in value. Bitfinex initially said that it would refund customers with a bail-in plan. This meant that traders who lost money would get only a fraction in refunds.
A couple of weeks after the hacking incident, Bitfinex changed its plan. The company said it would issue tokens called recovery rights so that it could compensate customers who lost money. The company refunded all customers by April 2017.
DOJ officials were monitoring wallet addresses to which the coins were transferred. Bitcoins were being moved in small amounts to unknown wallets. By February 2022, the tip off to the hacker’s identity was the consolidation of 94500+ bitcoins into one wallet. This amount represented 79% of the stolen number. With diligent tracking, the DOJ managed to uncover the hackers’ identities and arrest them.
The couple is currently in prison and were denied bail as they pose a flight risk. They still have 7500+ BTC in their possession which amounts to $333 million in current exchange rates (BTC/USD).