The Justice Department of the United States has said on Tuesday that it has seized more than $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency and arrested two people in connection with the 2016 hack of virtual currency exchange.
Kenneth A. Polite Jr, the Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement; “Today, federal law enforcement demonstrates once again that we can follow the money through the blockchain and that we will not allow cryptocurrency to be a haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system."
The two arrested in Manhattan, the United States on Tuesday were Ilya Lichtenstein, a 34 years old fellow and his wife, Heather Morgan who is 31.
They are scheduled to make initial appearances in the federal court in Manhattan.
The NBC NEWS stated that according to court documents, Lichtenstein and Morgan allegedly conspired to launder the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoin that were stolen from a platform called Bitfinex after a hacker breached Bitfinex’s systems and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.
The stolen bitcoin was sent to a digital wallet under Lichtenstein’s control, and around 25,000 of those stolen bitcoins were transferred out of Lichtenstein’s wallet through a series of laundering transactions that ended with some of the stolen funds being deposited into financial accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and Morgan.
The remainder of the stolen funds, which is more than 94,000 bitcoin, remained in the wallet used to receive and store the illegal proceeds from the hack.
The price of one bitcoin on Tuesday was around $43,400. At the time of seizure, the recovered bitcoin was valued at over $3.6 billion. At the time it was stolen, it was worth $71 million.