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Couple charged with money laundering tied to 2016 $4.5B crypto hack

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced the arrest of a couple in New York charged with conspiring to launder stolen Bitcoin linked to the 2016 hack of a cryptocurrency exchange from which $4.5 billion went missing.

About $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency from the 2016 hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has so far been recovered in what Justice Department officials said Tuesday is the department’s largest such seizure to date.

“Criminals always leave tracks,” FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate said in a statement. “And today’s case is a reminder that the FBI has the tools to follow the digital trail, wherever it may lead.”

The Department’s criminal division identified “Dutch” Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, as the co-defendants in this case.

Court documents accuse the couple of conspiring to launder the proceeds of 119,754 Bitcoin that a hacker doled out in more than 2,000 transactions to a wallet under Licthenstein’s control.

The criminal complaint also alleges that Lichtenstein and Morgan used fictitious identities to set up online accounts to take advantage of computer programs that automate transactions.

According to Lichtenstein’s LinkedIn, he currently works as an investor for Demandpath, an advisor for SalesFolk and a mentor for 500 Startups.

Lichtenstein and Morgan are both set to make an appearance in a Manhattan federal court later Tuesday.

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