Key Points

  • Ilya Lichstein and Heather Morgan have pleaded guilty to being original hackers of the bitcoin exchange Bitfinex in 2016, which resulted in a loss of $4.5 billion.
  • The guilty plea by Ilya Lichstein and Heather Morgan came in Washington DC, which also included ties to money laundering and fraud charges.

Ilya Lichstein and Heather Morgan pleaded guilty to hacking the Bitfinex bitcoin exchange in 2016, shedding light on who was involved in the heist after years of investigations. Now, the couple faces other charges like money laundering and conspiring to defraud the united states government.

Ilya Lichstein and Heather Morgan plead guilty in a multibillion hack case

Ilya Lichstein and Heather Morgan have been under investigation in the U.S. concerning Bitfinex hacking for years. Now, Ilya Lichstein has pleaded guilty in a Washington DC federal court to being the original hacker of the exchange leading to a theft that saw the exchange suffer a $4.5 billion loss.

At the same time, his wife, Heather Rhiannon Morgan, stepped up from the audience to enter her guilty plea on two charges, money laundering and conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. Now, Lichstein faces a maximum jail term of 20 years for money laundering though it is yet to be determined if he will face more charges.

His wife, Heather Morgan, has been freed on a $3 million bond since her arrest, which marks over one year since the two last saw each other. The two had been arrested in February 2022 in a process that resulted in the DOJ seizing more than 94,000 bitcoin worth over $3.6 billion. The seizure was the largest ever done by the US DOJ.

Now, the DoJ has also made another seizure worth approximately $ 475 million, per a statement from the authorities. Bitfinex also followed suit and released a statement saying it has engaged in unprecedented efforts since the hack to refund its customers fully.

“Bitfinex also diligently worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to identify the perpetrators of the hack, recover the stolen bitcoin, and bring the hackers to justice,” the company said. “After seven years, those efforts have come to fruition.”

Keep watching Fintech Express for more updates on this and other fintech-related developments.