2022 – A New York couple is still accused of laundering $4.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency in plea talks to Reuters

© Reuters. File photo: Illustrative photo of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex taken on September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvik/Illustration

Written by Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New York couple accused of laundering $4.5 billion in cryptocurrency in connection with the 2016 hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex are still negotiating a potential deal, prosecutors said, while reviewing more than 1.1 gigabytes of evidence in the case. .

Elijah “Dach” Liechtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 32, the self-proclaimed “Alligator of Wall Street,” are due to appear in federal court in Washington next Friday.

But in a court filing on Monday, US Memorial Day, federal prosecutors asked for the hearing to be postponed to August 2, citing “discussions about possible solutions to the case just before the trial” and the need to “expand the review.” Financial records. The government handed it over.

Lichtenstein and Morgan were arrested in February and charged with criminal conspiracy to launder 119,754 bitcoins that were stolen after a hacker broke into Bitfinex in 2016 and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.

US Department of Justice officials said the transactions were worth $71 million in bitcoin, but as the currency has appreciated, the value at the time of their arrest has reached $4.5 billion.

The couple had active public profiles, with Morgan being known as the rapper “Razelkhan,” a pseudonym that referred to Genghis Khan on her website, “but with more skill.”

The grand jury has yet to return an indictment against the couple after prosecutors first indicated in March that they had agreed to suspend the speedy trial law to discuss a possible defense deal.

Liechtenstein is being held in prison without bail while Morgan has been released to house arrest.