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‘Crocodile of Wall Street’ spouse pleads guilty in Bitcoin heist tied to Bitfinex hack

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The husband of a social media rapper who dubbed herself the “Crocodile of Wall Street” pleaded guilty to money-laundering conspiracy tied to the theft of billions of dollars of Bitcoin in the 2016 hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.  

Ilya Lichtenstein, who marketed himself on social media as an angel investor in technology companies, entered his plea Thursday before US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. 

The government had charged Lichenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, of conspiring to launder 119,754 of Bitcoin stolen following the hack. During the hearing, Lichtenstein admitted he was the one who orchestrated the hack, and that his wife learned later how he’d gotten the cryptocurrency.

Morgan, who also called herself “Razzlekhan,” developed a social media presence by rapping about investment strategies, calling herself a risk-loving moneymaker who was “sly as a gator.” Her plea hearing is set for later Thursday. 

The pleas come as part of a deal the couple struck with the government following several delays in the case they requested since their arrest in February 2022. They faced charges that carried a combined maximum prison sentence of 25 years.   

Prosecutors alleged the two used fake identities to create online accounts and covered up the trail of transactions by depositing and withdrawing the stolen funds from virtual currency exchanges and darknet markets. Some of the money went to purchase nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, gold and Walmart gift cards, the government said. 

When Bitfinex was hacked, Bitcoin was trading under $1,000. It had skyrocketed to $44,000 by the time the couple was arrested in early 2022, pushing up the value of the stolen assets to $4.5 billion, of which $3.6 billion was recovered by authorities. Since then, the cryptocurrency has fallen to around $29,000. 

Read More: ‘Crocodile of Wall Street’ Arrested in $4.5 Billion Crypto Crime

The case is US v. Lichtenstein, 23-cr-00239, US District Court, District of Columbia (Washington, DC)

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