Crypto heist couple Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan — who were charged with laundering $4.5 billion in hacked Bitcoin in 2016 — are reportedly preparing to plead guilty ahead of their next scheduled court appearance on Aug. 3.
The so-called “Bitcoin Bonnie & Clyde” have been newly charged in the case with a document known as an information, which lays out criminal charges and is similar to an indictment, but which doesn’t require a grand jury’s vote, a Washington, D.C., federal court document filed Friday showed.
Federal prosecutors have been known to use the special documents when defendants agree to plead guilty.
Russian-born Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Morgan, 32, previously pleaded not guilty in a February 2022 case that charged them of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud in the United States.
The pair were arrested at their Manhattan apartment earlier that month for allegedly attempting to launder an astounding $4.5 billion in cryptocurrency that had been stolen from Hong Kong’s Bitfinex, one of the world’s largest virtual cryptocurrency exchanges, in 2016.
Federal authorities accused the couple of trying to launder 119,754 bitcoin. At the time of the theft, the crypto amounted to about $70 million.
However, at the time of their arrest, the price inflated into the billions. Today, 119,754 bitcoin is worth nearly $3.6 billion.
Lichtenstein — a Russian emigre known as “Dutch” — was not granted bail, and has been in a Washington, D.C., jail since his arrest after being billed a flight risk.
Morgan — better known as the questionably talented rapper “Razzlekhan” who shares songs about being “the crocodile of Wall Street” — is free on a $3 million bond pending the outcome of negotiations.
The nature of the charges stated in the document are confidential, though the court docket showed that District of Columbia Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the couple’s defense to provide plea paperwork by Friday.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly said the defendants’ paperwork must include “charged offense(s) and statutory provision; charge(s) in plea and statutory provision; elements of the offense; copy of the plea agreement; penalties; and [federal sentencing] guideline calculations,” according to the docket.
The Post has reached out to Lichtenstein’s counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindell, as well as Morgan’s legal team at Burnham & Gorokhov.
If found guilty, Lichtenstein and Morgan could face up to 25 years years behind bars. It’s unclear how a plea deal could affect their sentence.
Morgan has been spending her 24-hour house arrest holed up in the rented Wall Street high-rise she once shared with her husband.
The downtime had Morgan looking for remote work. In September, she tweeted saying: “Looking for remote B2B growth /marketing /sales /copywriting /demand gen work. Can be contract or potentially full-time. Have 10 years experience, including remotely managing distributed teams.”
She also asked that only “serious opportunities with B2B (tech) companies” reach out.
The post came before a judge granted Morgan’s request to amend the terms of her home confinement.
In January, US Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui ruled that she could work from her employer’s New York office three days per week, from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Faruqui also granted Morgan permission to use a computer and a smartphone — with monitoring software installed on both — in order to work from home, though she remained barred from carrying out any cryptocurrency transactions.
Morgan’s tweet appeared to have worked, as her lawyer, Eugene Gorokhov, said in a court filing that she was “in the role of growth marketing and business development specialist.” Her employer’s identity was kept confidential for safety reasons.
Aside from the tweet on Morgan’s job hunt, she’s been quiet on all social media fronts, even halting her YouTube videos where she shared rap songs, ironically, about her being a hacking nerd.
On Instagram, the last post shared to Razzlekhan’s account was on Feb. 7, 2022, where Morgan recorded herself complaining that she feels like “a tortured dog going to the vet” when she goes to the nail salon.
Source by [New York Post]