An aspiring rapper calling herself the ‘Turkish Martha Stewart’ and her husband have been found guilty of trying to launder $4.5 billion (R79 billion) worth of Crypto they stole during a 2016 hack.
Heather Morgan, who calls herself Razzlekhan, and Ilya Lichtenstein were arrested last year in New York after police traced their riches back to the crypto heist.
Lichtenstein pleaded guilty to being the mastermind behind the hack that stole 119 000 Bitcoins.
Although Lichtenstein styled himself as a tech entrepreneur, his wife used the time since their heist to create her own “bad-ass money maker” persona, calling herself “the crocodile of Wall Street” and releasing a series of expletive-heavy rap videos.
Razzlekhan also claimed to be a successful tech businesswoman, calling herself an economist, serial entrepreneur, software investor, and of course, a rapper.
Court documents showed in detail how the couple cashed out millions of dollars of Bitfinex Bitcoins into traditional money using sophisticated techniques to stay under the radar.
Amongst their tricks were splitting up the Bitcoin into tiny amounts and transferring it to thousands of different crypto wallets with fake identities, mixing their funds with another criminal cryptocurrency on the darknet marketplace Alphabay, and buying gold coins.
One of the couple’s key mistakes though was shopping with Walmart supermarket vouchers paid for with the stolen funds.
Police were able to link the Walmart gift cards back to some of the proceeds of the Bitfinex hack, which then opened up the further investigation.
When police raided the couple’s Manhattan apartment, they found hollowed-out books created to conceal mobile phones. They also discovered dozens of burner handsets, several USB sticks, and $40,000 in cash.
Police successfully decrypted a spreadsheet detailing the couple’s methods for laundering the stash, allowing them to recover nearly the full amount. Prosecutors also uncovered communication records that indicate Morgan and Lichtenstein were planning to flee the US for Russia.
Unfortunately for Razzlekhan and her hubby, the pair will now only spend time in jail, which might be great for her rap career – if only she wasn’t so bad at it.
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