In the early part of February this year, a couple in New York was arrested and charged with attempting to launder Bitcoin worth $5.02 billion AUD. The couple, Ilya “Dutch” Lichenstein and Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan had allegedly stolen the bitcoin in a scam in 2016. The bitcoin at the time was worth only 72 million.
Biggest bitcoin scam
Lichtenstein and Morgan are believed to be behind one of the biggest bitcoin scams which resulted in the theft of 120,000 BTC in 2016. The couple is believed to have stolen the bitcoin by hacking Bitfinex, a cryptocurrency exchange in 2016. They used numerous deceitful transactions that made it difficult to track the coins. 25,000 of the Bitcoin which were in Lichtenstein’s wallet were transferred over and over via a complex money laundering process over the past few years. Some of the stolen funds ended up being deposited in financial accounts controlled by the couple.
As the value of bitcoin has soared by over 7425% over the past five years, the value of the couple’s stolen coins rose from $100 million AUD to about $5 billion AUD. It Is believed that the couple was trying to liquidate the coins using false identities when they were arrested in their lower Manhattan apartment. The Department of Justice announced that it had seized more than $3.6 billion in Bitcoin at the time of the arrest. This makes the biggest financial seizure in the DOJ’s history. The remainder of the stolen funds, which comprises about 94,000 bitcoin, remain in Lichtenstein’s wallet which was used to receive and store the stolen coins during the hack.
Rising interest in crypto
Netflix announced that the New York-based couple would be the subject of a docuseries that the entertainment giant will soon begin to stream. The announcement came only 3 days after the arrest of the couple. It is a demonstration of the rising appetite of the general public in stories about the world of technology and more specifically about its frauds and failures. There are many shows that continue to depict the tech industry and more specifically the crypto world as one rife with crime.
The latest document series by Netflix will be directed by Chris Smith. He is best known for his Netflix series ‘FYRE: The Greatest Party that Never Happened’ documented the occurrences around the Fyre Festival which turned out to be a big fraud. Chris Smith is also well known for his role as executive producer of the Netflix hit ‘Tiger King,’ based on the Covid Pandemic.
The docuseries on the couple are undoubtedly fueled by Morgan’s more than colorful social media activity. Morgan, once a Forbes.com contributor, was very active on social media. His rap videos were widely mocked by the Twitterverse upon his arrest.
The cryptoverse is certainly looking forward to the series, not for its negative depiction of the industry but for the lessons that can be learned from one of the biggest hacks of all time.