Crypto Heist couple set for US plea deal over bitcoin laundering | Tech News

Crypto Heist couple set for US plea deal over bitcoin laundering

A social-media rapper, who dubbed herself the “Crocodile of Wall Street,” and her husband have reached a plea deal with prosecutors in a case that involved laundering billions of dollars of stolen Bitcoin, according to a court filing and a person familiar with the matter.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Jul 22 2023, 07:35 IST
This malicious Firefox add-on stole thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency
Crypto Heist
1/6 A particular malicious add-on for Firefox, that goes by the name Safepal Wallet, has managed to scam users by stealing money from them and managed to live on the Mozilla add-ons store for seven months before getting detected and removed. (Pixabay)
image caption
2/6 Safepal is essentially a cryptocurrency wallet application that is capable of holding more than 10,000 types of assets, including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc. However, Safepal is an official smartphone app that is available for Apple and Android both. There are no known “authentic” Safepal browser extensions. (BleepingComputer)
image caption
3/6 According to a post shared by a user who goes by the name Cali on the Mozilla Support forum, within a few hours of installing and logging in to the Safepal Wallet extension with their real Safepal credentials, they saw their wallet balance drop to $0 from $4,000.  (Mozilla Support Forum )
image caption
4/6 While investigating Safepal Wallet, BleepingComputer came across the phishing domain used by the add-on and this webpage was also listed as the "support site" link on the fake add-on's home page: https://safeuslife.com/tool/. WHOIS records indicate the this phishing site was registered in January this year via Namecheap. And BleepingComputer reported that at the time of them filing this report, the webpage is still live and it instructs people to key in their "12-word Backup Phrase in the correct order to pair your SafePal Wallet". (BleepingComputer )
image caption
5/6 Once the recovery phrase is entered and the form is submitted, the page refreshes without any noticeable response and the recovery phrase is sent to the attacker. A stolen recovery phrase can give attackers control over your wallet along with the ability to access and transfer funds. (Pixabay)
image caption
6/6 Five days after Cali publicly reported the incident, a Mozilla spokesperson responded to say that they were investigating the issue and the page for Safepal Wallet has since been removed by Mozilla. The Mozilla add-ons store now has one-star reviews posted by some users that are warning others to not download “Safepal Wallet”. (BleepingComputer )
Crypto Heist
icon View all Images
Attorney Sam Enzer, center, sits between Heather Morgan, left, and her husband, Ilya "Dutch" Lichtenstein in New York. (Bloomberg)

A social-media rapper, who dubbed herself the “Crocodile of Wall Street,” and her husband have reached a plea deal with prosecutors in a case that involved laundering billions of dollars of stolen Bitcoin, according to a court filing and a person familiar with the matter.

Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein are scheduled to appear for a plea hearing on Aug. 3, more than a year after they were charged, according to a filing Friday in federal court in Washington. The couple were arrested in February 2022, but requested delays in their case to facilitate plea discussions, which could indicate they are cooperating with authorities.

You may be interested in

MobilesTablets Laptops
7% OFF
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • Black Titanium
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB Storage
23% OFF
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G
  • Green
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 256 GB Storage
Google Pixel 8 Pro
  • Obsidian
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 128 GB Storage
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
  • Black
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 128 GB Storage

While the court filing didn't provide details about expected pleas, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the parties to provide paperwork for the hearing by July 27, along with a “copy of the plea agreement.”

Also read
Looking for a smartphone? To check mobile finder click here.

Defense lawyers for Morgan and Lichtenstein didn't respond to requests for comment, and neither did prosecutors at the US Justice Department.

The government accused the couple of conspiring to launder 119,754 of Bitcoin stolen after the 2016 hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. They allegedly used fake identities to set up online accounts and hid the trail of transactions by depositing and then withdrawing stolen funds from virtual currency exchanges and darknet markets.

Some of the money they cashed out of Bitcoin ATMs was used to buy, among other things, NFTs, gold and a Walmart gift card, according to the government. But prosecutors didn't accuse the couple of the actual hack.

Morgan, who also called herself “Razzlekhan,” appeared on social media rapping about investment strategies and calling herself a risk-loving moneymaker who was “sly as a gator.” Lichtenstein, who used the nickname “Dutch,” marketed himself as an angel investor in technology companies, according to his LinkedIn profile.

At the time of the Bitfinex hack, Bitcoin was trading under $1,000. When they were arrested in February 2022, it had topped $44,000, boosting the value of the stolen assets to about $4.5 billion — of which $3.6 billion had been recovered by authorities. Since then, Bitcoin has dropped to around $30,000.

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

Catch all the Latest Tech News, Mobile News, Laptop News, Gaming news, Wearables News , How To News, also keep up with us on Whatsapp channel,Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 22 Jul, 07:35 IST
NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS