In a plea hearing on Thursday in Washington, D.C., Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, the husband of social media rapper Heather Morgan, aka Razzlekhan, pleaded guilty to hacking nearly 119,754 bitcoins from Bitfinex, the crypto exchange from which the money was stolen in August 2016.
The couple had been arrested by the U.S. government in February 2022 for laundering what was then $4.5 billion in the stolen bitcoin from the hack — $3.6 billion of which was seized to mark the government’s largest haul ever (today worth $2.7 billion).
However, the question of who actually stole the money had always remained.
The couple’s wild social media presence had caused numerous commentators to believe that they were not possible of actually stealing the money, that perhaps they’d bought it at a discount from the actual thief.
However, the blockchain showed the coins had moved directly from Bitfinex to the wallet whose private keys the government later found in Lichtenstein’s possession, lending credence to the notion that he or the couple together had hacked the exchange.
Thursday’s hearings come after 18 months of negotiating, with a source previously telling Unchained, that both Lichtenstein and Morgan cooperated with authorities, giving the government additional wallet addresses holding more stolen funds and other information that has increased the government’s recovery.
At their sentencing, expected to be in 60 to 90 days, their good behavior could benefit them, though federal sentencing guidelines do take into account the amount of money involved, which is substantial in this case.
Morgan’s plea hearing is set for later Thursday.