The Department of Justice (DoJ) seized a record $3.6 billion in bitcoin that was stolen in a hack crypto exchange Bitfinex in 2016.
During the largest confiscation of cryptocurrencies inthe whole story, a married couple was arrested - Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan. At the time of the hack, the stolen 119,754 BTC were valued at $70 million. At current exchange rates, the value of the stolen funds has risen to $4.5 billion.
The court documents detail the entire money laundering process that was uncovered after the closure of the AlphaBay darknet market.
Of the 119,754 bitcoins, 95,000 BTC - about $3.6 billion - were not withdrawn and remained in the wallet of the couple. Agents were able to access it and confiscate this amount.
The duo used various methods to launder the asset:
- transaction automation software
- transfers to various accounts of exchanges and darknet markets
- BTC conversion to anonymous currency
- crediting to accounts of fictitious personalities using false documents.
The stolen coins were also passed through mixers and the Hydra darknet marketplace, exchanged for gold, NFTs and gift cards.
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