$5b Stolen Bitcoin Seizure Largest Ever
The US Justice Department have arrested two people following a 2016 hack of the Bitfinex currency exchange, which netted them $5.05 in Bitcoin.
They allegedly conspired to launder 119,754 bitcoin through a labyrinth of crypto transactions, leading the US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to state the arrests prove “Cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals.”
The couple are said to have used various techniques, including using fictitious identities to set up online accounts, using computer programs to automate transactions, a laundering technique that allows for many transactions to take place in a short period, depositing the stolen funds into accounts at various virtual currency exchanges and darknet markets then withdrawing the funds.
They also funneled the funds through AlphaBay Marketplace, which was shut down in 2017.
They cashed out some of the funds through Bitcoin ATMs. Some went into buying NFTs and gold, even a Walmart gift card.
Bitfinex reported the security breach in August 2016, halting trading, withdrawals and deposits.
The pair now face up to 20 years in jail for laundering, as well as up to five years for conspiracy to defraud the US.