Husband-wife ‘crypto couple’ discusses plea deal with prosecutors in $4.5 billion bitcoin heist: court filing

The “crypto couple,” charged in connection with a $4.5 billion Bitcoin heist in 2016, are in talks with prosecutors about dropping a lawsuit, according to a court filing Monday.

Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, face up to 25 years in federal prison in the money laundering and fraud case.

The pair were arrested in late February after investigators found $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin BTCUSD.
+2.87%
stolen from crypto wallets controlled by the couple in a 2016 hack of trading platform Bitfinex. At the time of the robbery, the bitcoin was worth $71 million but had skyrocketed to $4.5 billion by the time of her arrest.

One of the key investigative questions revolves around the couple’s role in the first hack. Neither of them have been charged with committing the hack themselves.

In a court filing on Monday, prosecutors said both sides had agreed to postpone a hearing scheduled for later this week to early May “to facilitate the investigative process and discussions between the parties.”

Lichtenstein and Morgan’s attorneys did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. In early March, Morgan assembled her own legal team and separated from her husband’s.

The couple’s arrest, coupled with Morgan’s outspoken social media personality and his alter ego as a comedic rapper named Razzlekhan, sparked a media firestorm, sending shockwaves through Silicon Valley and the world of cryptocurrency obsessives, where they were known.

Acquaintances said the couple did little to reveal they’d been sitting on an illicit fortune for years while portraying themselves as fairly typical Silicon Valley nerds. But prosecutors said the couple slowly tried to launder the stolen money while laying the groundwork for an escape to Russia if necessary.

Lichtenstein is being held without bail while awaiting trial. Morgan was released on $3 million bail and locked in the couple’s Wall Street apartment.

In late February, prosecutors had hinted that a plea deal was possible when they requested a similar extension for a required procedural hearing, saying they wanted additional time “to allow the parties to have discussions about possible resolutions outside of the trial.” “.

But Monday’s filing was the first to specifically mention that negotiations were taking place.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/husband-wife-crypto-couple-discussing-plea-deal-with-prosecutors-in-4-5-billion-bitcoin-heist-court-filing-11647891702?rss=1&siteid=rss Husband-wife ‘crypto couple’ discusses plea deal with prosecutors in $4.5 billion bitcoin heist: court filing

Brian Lowry

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