Half of the husband-and-wife duo that has been charged by American prosecutors with attempting to launder a monster bitcoin (BTC) allegedly raided from the crypto exchange Bitfinex in a 2016 hack is talking to the authorities about a possible “plea deal.”
CNBC reported that a federal prosecutor told a court on Monday that he and lawyers for Heather Morgan (aged 31) were “discussing a possible resolution of her criminal case” that would not necessitate a trial.
Morgan has been accused of attempting to launder part of a BTC 119,754 cache along with her husband Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein (aged 34), a tech investor.
Morgan herself is a sometime rapper and the CEO of a copywriting firm. Following a raid of their apartment in Manhattan last month, federal agents submitted court documents featuring photos of USB flash drives, scores of “burner” mobile phones, and hollowed-out books.
Officers have also frozen and seized some USD 3.6m worth of BTC.
The media outlet added that Lichtenstein “did not appear for the hearing,” adding that he had been denied bail and “remains in jail.”
The virtual hearing took place in Washington, D.C., where Assistant Attorney Christopher Brown, a prosecutor specializing in cybercrime, asked the judge to suspend Morgan’s “trial clock” until the next hearing – slated for March 25.
Individuals charged with federal felonies must be tried within 70 days of an indictment, but Brown noted that an “extensive amount of evidence” was “to be shared with defense lawyers” – which would be “complex and voluminous.”
The Assistant Attorney claimed the evidence “would include thousands of financial transactions involving cryptocurrency and USD over a five-year span, across dozens of financial accounts in the defendants’ names,” CNBC wrote.
Brown added that the delay would “allow the parties to engage in discussions for resolution of this case short of trial.”
In a report to the court, the prosecution also wrote:
“The government and defense counsel are engaged in discussions concerning a possible disposition of this matter.”
The same media outlet quoted Gerald Lefcourt, a New York attorney and former President of the National Association of Criminal Lawyers, as opining:
“They’re plea bargaining. That’s typical language. There are many situations where the government surprisingly learns a lot of things before filing [a criminal case] and bright defense lawyers see the writing on the wall.”
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