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Accused Bitfinex Launderer Heather Morgan Might Be Offered a Plea Deal

www.coindesk.com 28 February 2022 23:03, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

One of the alleged Bitfinex launderers might soon be offered a plea deal that could see her avoid the spectacle of a public trial.

During her virtual arraignment on Monday afternoon, prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that they were in talks with Heather Morgan’s attorneys about a possible “resolution” to her case that did not include a trial.

Morgan, along with her husband Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, has been accused of laundering the proceeds of the 2016 Bitfinex hack. The sum is valued at approximately $5 billion today.

Though prosecutors have accused both Morgan and Lichtenstein of being involved in the conspiracy to launder funds, there appears to be less direct evidence connecting Morgan to the crime.

The private keys to the wallet containing $3.6 billion worth of the stolen funds, which was seized by federal agents earlier this month, were found on Lichtenstein’s cloud account. Lichtenstein, a dual U.S.-Russian citizen, also possessed falsified identity documents the government says indicates the couple was preparing to flee the country to Russia or Ukraine.

Morgan and Lichtenstein were arrested on Feb. 8 at their New York apartment. Lichtenstein was denied bail and remains in jail. Morgan, however, was allowed to post a $3 million bond (including the value of her parents’ Northern California home) and is under house arrest at the couple’s apartment.

CNBC reported that Morgan was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Morgan’s lengthy medical history, including recent breast surgery, asthma, and endometriosis, was also a key factor in Judge Robin Meriweather’s decision to allow her to leave federal custody on bond.

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