Heather Morgan, Accused of Laundering Bitcoin, Is Out on Bail


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The awkward tech couple accused of making an attempt to launder billions of {dollars} in stolen Bitcoin has been quickly cut up up. Jailed since their early February arrest, the husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, stays behind bars, whereas his spouse, 31-year-old Heather Morgan, has been granted bail by a Washington D.C. decide, the Washington Put up stories.

On Monday, Chief U.S. District Decide Beryl A. Howell dubbed the proof in opposition to the couple to be “so weighty as to be overwhelming,” however in the end allowed Morgan to publish a bail of $3 million—a bond bundle that included her mother and father’ home. Lichtenstein’s provide of $5 million, in the meantime, was rejected, and he was ordered to stay in a Washington D.C. jail as the 2 await trial for prices of cash laundering and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. If the couple are convicted on these counts, they might withstand 25 years in jail.

In case you’ve missed it, the duo are accused of making an attempt to launder a large fortune—roughly $4.5 billion in cryptocurrency—that was beforehand stolen from the alternate Bitfinex throughout a 2016 hacking incident. The case has garnered widespread consideration as a result of goofy personalities of the couple, evident by way of their open and prolific social media exercise. Morgan, particularly, has attracted consideration on account of her weird hip hop side-career, which she perpetrated underneath the rap moniker “Razzlekahn.” Predictably, a docu-series of the couple’s story has already been ordered by Netflix.

Courtroom paperwork filed by prosecutors within the case consult with the couple as “refined cyber criminals and cash launderers who current a severe threat of flight” and lay out a case in opposition to granting the couple bail, pointing to their abroad ties:

“Lichtenstein is a twin Russian and U.S. citizen who has an lively Russian passport; regulation enforcement seized Lichtenstein’s U.S. and Russian passports throughout the January 5, 2022 search warrant. Lichtenstein renewed his Russian passport in 2019. Each Defendants traveled steadily previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, and journey information point out they’d been to Ukraine as lately as September 2019,” the courtroom filings observe.

Different paperwork present extra, fascinating particulars. The Wall Avenue Journal stories that, in a latest detention memo, prosecutors apparently highlighted the lyrics to one in all Morgan’s many rap songs as a sign of her hacking skills. “Spear phish your password/all of your funds transferred” she raps, in an obvious reference to “the hacking strategy of spear phishing to achieve entry to a person’s account password, after which transferring all the person’s funds out of the account,” because the attorneys put it.

Earlier reporting has already famous that the couple apparently had a ton of shady stuff inside their condominium—the form of stuff that will lead you to imagine they have been… most likely as much as one thing shady. This included a ziplock bag labelled “burner telephones” which, in fact, contained burner telephones. Prosecutors have additionally stated that Lichtenstein’s workplace contained “hollowed out” books—the type {that a} spy or a comic book ebook villain might need—although it’s not completely clear what they have been used for. The duo additionally had Russian financial institution accounts, and had beforehand traveled to Ukraine in 2019 to acquire faux identification paperwork, stories have famous.

There’s nonetheless loads we don’t find out about this case—like, as an illustration, the place a bunch of the cash is. Prosecutors have beforehand famous that some $328 million in cryptocurrency remains to be unaccounted for and that it’s not clear the place it is perhaps.


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