Accused Bitfinex Launderer Heather Morgan Might Be Offered a Plea Deal

At Morgan’s arraignment on Monday, prosecutors told a federal judge they’re in talks with the defense to find a “resolution” to the criminal case that would see Morgan avoid trial.

Feb 28, 2022 at 9:27 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 28, 2022 at 9:38 p.m. UTC

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

One of the alleged Bitfinex money launderers might soon be offered a plea deal that could see her avoid the spectacle of a public trial.

During her virtual arraignment on Monday afternoon, prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia they were in talks with Heather Morgan’s attorneys about a possible “resolution” to her case that did not include a trial.

Morgan, along with her husband Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, has been accused of laundering the proceeds of the 2016 Bitfinex hack. The sum is valued at approximately $5 billion today.

Though prosecutors have accused both Morgan and Lichtenstein of being involved in the conspiracy to launder funds, there appears to be less direct evidence connecting Morgan to the crime.

The private keys to the wallet containing $3.6 billion worth of the stolen funds, which was seized by federal agents earlier this month, were found on Lichtenstein’s cloud account. Lichtenstein, a dual U.S.-Russian citizen, also possessed falsified identity documents the government says indicates the couple was preparing to flee the country to Russia or Ukraine.

Morgan and Lichtenstein were arrested on Feb. 8 at their New York apartment. Lichtenstein was denied bail and remains in jail. Morgan, however, was allowed to post a $3 million bond (including the value of her parents’ Northern California home) and is under house arrest at the couple’s apartment.

CNBC reported that Morgan was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Morgan’s lengthy medical history, including recent breast surgery, asthma and endometriosis, was also a key factor in Judge Meriweather’s decision to allow her to leave federal custody on bond.


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Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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