TR; DR Breakdown
- A couple is accused of being involved in Bitfinex $3.6 billion Bitcoin launder.
- The wife has been released on bail, while husband remains in detention.
In the just-concluded Valentine’s Day, love was in the air for some while others faced the harsh realities of the law. The husband-wife duo at the center of the infamous $3.6 billion Bitfinex Bitcoin (BTC) money laundering case had quite a contrasting day. While wife Heather Morgan had her release upheld by a federal judge, husband Ilya Lichtenstein was sent to pre-trial detention.
Morgan bailed for $3 million
The couple is accused of involvement in laundering the funds stolen from Bitfinex. Both were arrested on February 12 and made an appearance in Federal Court in Los Angeles the same day, according to a report by local news outlet KTLA. However, Heather Morgan has now been released on a $3 Million bail while her husband Ilya Lichtenstein was denied bond and remanded in custody pending trial.
The news of the contrasting Valentine’s Day outcomes for the husband-wife duo comes as a surprise to some, especially given that Morgan is said to be pregnant with the couple’s first child. Lichtenstein’s attorney has said that his client is not a flight risk and should be released on bail. Conversely, prosecutors have argued that there is a likelihood that Lichtenstein will flee and not return for trial if released.
Lichtenstein’s attorney also argued that his client is a U.S. citizen, has family in the country, and has no criminal record, according to KTLA. However, prosecutors said this was irrelevant because he had substantial assets from illegal activity to flee the country and that his family members were also implicated in the money laundering scheme.
How Bitfinex BTC launderers were caught
The couple had been on vacation at Disney World with their two dogs when they were arrested by federal agents, according to KTLA. Prosecutors say Lichtenstein is accused of being part of a criminal organization responsible for facilitating over $30 million worth of Bitcoin for criminals involved in drug trafficking.
In addition to the money laundering charges, Lichtenstein is also charged with conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Morgan was charged with one count of conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business. The case is still under investigation, and no further details have been released yet.