'Razzlekhan' and husband plead guilty to charges related to Bitfinex hack

Quick Take

  • Tech entrepreneur and rapper Heather Morgan, also known as ‘Razzlekhan’, and her husband Ilya Lichtenstein, pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in federal court on Thursday. Morgan also pleaded guilty to a fraud charge.
  • U.S. law enforcement said that Lichtenstein perpetrated a hack of trading platform Bitfinex.

Ilya Lichtenstein and and Heather Morgan known by her rapper name “Razzlekhan," pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in connection with the 2016 hacking of the crypto trading platform Bitfinex.

Lichtenstein, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and faces 20 years in prison. Morgan, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., which could result in up to 10 years in prison, according to the Justice Department.

Lichtenstein and Morgan were accused of laundering of over $4 billion of bitcoin, at time of seizure, related to the 2016 hack of Bitfinex. Morgan, known by her rapper name “Razzlekhan” was arrested with Lichtenstein last year and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Notably, prior to her arrest Morgan also gave advice on how to protect businesses from cybercriminals and how to more effectively socially engineer — a hacking term — "your way into anything." 

According to the Justice Department, Lichtenstein used numerous hacking tools to get access to Bitfinex's network to then transfer bitcoin to a crypto wallet in his control, though he did not plead guilty to hacking-related charges. After the hack, Lichtenstein enlisted the help of his wife to launder the stolen funds.

Coincidentally, the couple's appearances in court to plead guilty were pushed forward due to potential logistic issues connected to former President Donald Trump’s court appearance on the same day in Washington D.C.

The case unexpectedly involved classified information, which had to be presented under seal, a district court judge said last year. That judge signed a protective order, indicating that the case involved information that can only be accessed by people with security clearance. 

UPDATE: With additional information on pleadings from Justice Department release.

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