Amateur Rapper and Husband Plead Guilty to Bitcoin Laundering
An amateur rapper, Heather Morgan, and her husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, have pleaded guilty to attempting to launder stolen Bitcoin. The couple went to desperate lengths in their attempts to convert billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency into cash. At the time of their arrest in 2022, they were found in possession of 120,000 Bitcoin, valued at $4.5 billion (£3.5 billion). The US Department of Justice managed to recover $3.6 billion (£2.8 billion) of this, marking the largest financial seizure in its history.
While the couple was accused of laundering the cryptocurrency rather than stealing it, Lichtenstein has now admitted to hacking the Bitfinex exchange in 2016. The 35-year-old then involved his wife in an elaborate scheme that included burying gold coins and burning documents in a bin in Kazakhstan. Prosecutors alleged that the couple created fake identities to set up online trading accounts for laundering the Bitcoin.
Elaborate Scheme and Evidence
Detectives found folders on Lichtenstein’s computer named “personas,” indicating the creation of multiple fake identities. Additionally, a plastic bag labeled “burner phones” was discovered under their bed. The couple also used their ill-gotten gains to purchase non-fungible tokens and Walmart gift cards.
Heather Morgan, known as “Razzlekhan” in her rap videos, referred to herself as the “Crocodile of Wall Street.” She had previously worked as a public speaker and even hosted an event in New York called “How to Social Engineer Your Way Into Anything.” Her tips for crashing an event included wearing black T-shirts to resemble security personnel and wearing multiple layers of clothing for quick outfit changes.
Plea Deal and Sentencing
Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein entered into a plea deal last month. However, a date for their sentencing has not yet been set. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison, as stated by officials at the time of their arrest.