It was in the year 2016 when Bitfinex was hacked and lost 119.754 BTC. The loss was not only devastating to the exchange and their customers but was also perceived as a significant setback for the whole market after MtGox faced a catastrophe of similar proportions in 2014.
Fast forward: It is the year 2022 and US authorities managed to seize 3,6 billion US-Dollars and arrest a couple that allegedly tried to launder the whole stack of Bitcoin that was lost during the hack.
Stored in an online account
According to an official statement from the department of justice over 94.000 BTC were stored casually in a cloud drive which allowed easy access to the FBI. In a combined effort between the IRS, FBI, HIS, and the help of the police department in Ansbach, Germany investigators were able to track down the activity of the alleged money launderers.
In its official press release, the DOJ emphasized that investigators could track the funds because all transactions on the blockchain remain forever and the fact that Bitcoins ledger is immutable gives authorities enough time to analyze even complex money laundering schemes. The couple used allegedly false identities and techniques like chain hoping and automated transactions to obfuscate their trail.
In case of being found guilty in court on both charges, both defendants face up to 25 years in jail. Given the fact that this is an extraordinary case with an incredible amount of money involved, the future is not looking bright for the couple.
Meet Razzlekhan the Versace Bedouin
What is even more important on social media right now is the life of the alleged perpetrators. Since the official press release of the DOJ named both persons charged with the crimes, the crypto community was quick to find out about their lives.
And it seems that they both had a colorful life, presenting themselves as tech entrepreneurs and in the case of the wife, Heather Morgan, even as rapper and Forbes contributor. The internet is swarming with clips from “Razzlekhan” and it seems that the larger crypto community has a hard time grasping that someone who produces such “art” was able to pull off a billion-dollar money-laundering scheme.
But there is even more to it because Morgan was an active Forbes contributor for years and also gave a lecture on the topic of successful social engineering. This sheds new light on the Bitfinex hack since social engineering is a known technique to infiltrate IT infrastructure by convincing support or admin staff to take action when in fact, they compromise the security with their own actions.
It is still unclear if the couple has indeed hacked Bitfinex. For now, they are charged with money laundering and a conspiracy to defraud the United States while the investigations in the hack continue.