$4.5 Billion Bitcoin Heist: "Surrealist" Rapper And Husband Arrested For Alleged Laundering


Jack Dunhill


Jack Dunhill

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

Jack is a Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer for IFLScience, with a degree in Medical Genetics specializing in Immunology.

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer


The heist is the largest haul seized by officials to date. Image Credit: oOhyperblaster/

Two people have been arrested for allegedly attempting to launder the largest amount of stolen Bitcoin yet – almost 120,000 coins, with a market value of an astonishing $4.5 billion.

The cryptocurrency was stolen during a heist in 2016 when hackers gained access to the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. At the time, they were valued at a more modest $71 million (£52.2 million).  


Following an investigation by the US Department of Justice, officials discovered a married couple – Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and Heather Morgan, 31 – allegedly attempting to move the stolen crypto through thousands of transactions into different digital wallets.

The investigation alleges that these transactions have been occurring since the heist, and have successfully laundered 25,000 Bitcoin, while the pair remained anonymous via fake identities. 

The remaining 95,000 Bitcoin were found in the same wallet the stolen crypto was moved to during the hack, after officials gained access by decrypting a file found on Lichtenstein’s cloud storage account. 

The Department of Justice announced the seizure in a statement, and warned other crypto hackers of the risks involved in such a heist.  


“Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in a statement

“In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter what form it takes.” 

Bitfinex subsequently expressed their satisfaction at the DOJ for recovering the stolen funds.  

“We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today announced that it has recovered a significant portion of the bitcoin stolen during the August 2016 security breach. We have been cooperating extensively with the DOJ since its investigation began and will continue to do so.” said the exchange in a statement


The arrests were made Tuesday morning and the pair were expected in court that afternoon. 

Morgan and Lichenstein, while supposedly anonymous in their illegal pursuits, were anything but anonymous online.

Morgan posted raps on YouTube under the moniker Razzlekhan, with a Twitter profile appearing to belong to Morgan describing themself as a "Surrealist Artist". She is often seen bragging about her supposed wealth, shouting out to all the "entrepreneurs and hackers" in her song Versace Bedouin.

On her website, she describes herself as "like Genghis Khan, but with more pizzazz" and as having a "hacker mindset."


An article written by Morgan also appeared in Forbes describing "Tips To Protect Your Business From Cybercriminals".

This TikTok video, as reported by Vice, shows her account explaining how she "built a multimillion-dollar business" with "ZERO outside funding".



  • tag
  • crime,

  • hacking,

  • cryptocurrency,

  • Bitcoin