Unimpressive rapper, spouse charged in bitcoin laundering case – Los Angeles Times

good morning and welcome to the california essentials newsletter. It’s Thursday, Feb. 17. I’m justin ray.

This month, the justice department announced its “largest financial seizure ever” related to a bizarre cryptocurrency case. To understand what happened, you need to understand three parts: a crypto theft, a couple who got arrested, and why all of this matters.

Reading: Bitcoin rapper arrested

leave my crypto

It all started six years ago with a breach. Hackers stole $71 million, valued at more than $4.5 billion today, from Bitfinex, a virtual currency exchange. the funds were stolen through more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions, according to the justice department.

At the time, the news was another blow to the crypto world, which had seen breaches before. another exchange, mt. gox, conspicuously lost 850,000 bitcoins. when the company went bankrupt in 2014, bitcoin was worth more than $450 million.

now the thing to know about bitcoin is that although they are anonymous to some degree, they are actually very easy to trace. every transaction made is publicly visible to everyone. you do not believe me? you can click here and see the transactions in real time (you should pay close attention to the staggering amounts on the far right).

This information is important for understanding arrests.

money laundering through walmart

Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and her wife, Heather Morgan, 31, were arrested this month in Manhattan on suspicion of laundering cryptocurrency linked to the hacks.

To be clear, they are not being accused of participating in the hack and have not been convicted. information on the case has been obtained through the justice department. The people responsible for the original hack have not been identified.

Friends told the Wall Street Journal that the couple previously lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. The newspaper also reported that Lichtenstein had gone through y Combinator, a well-known training program for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

“lichtenstein and morgan allegedly conspired to launder proceeds of 119,754 bitcoins that were stolen from the bitfinex platform,” the justice department said.

See also: Top 20+ arkx holding hottest

Unauthorized transactions sent stolen bitcoins to a digital wallet under the control of lichtenstein. Over the past five years, “approximately 25,000 of those stolen bitcoins were transferred from Lichtenstein’s wallet through a complicated money laundering process,” according to the agency.

Actually, it’s not that complicated. Millions of dollars worth of transactions were collected through bitcoin ATMs and used to purchase items such as gold and non-fungible tokens, according to the justice department. They also purchased a $500 Walmart gift card, and the items they purchased with it were delivered to their Manhattan address.

The couple’s attorney wrote in a document that “the money laundering allegations in the government complaint are based on a series of assumptions and circumstantial inferences drawn from a complex web of intricate blockchain and cryptocurrency tracking claims.” , according to cnbc. .

The connection to cryptocurrency theft is not the only reason the case has garnered attention. Morgan has posted rap songs on Spotify and TikTok under the name Razzlekhan. (on the “versace bedouin” track, he says, “f— I jane austen romance, I’d rather take a taxidermy class”)

why this is important

For me, there are two main takeaways from the entire saga. the first is that cryptocrimes are easily detected.

“it’s better than cash. it’s easier to track,” said paul vigna, a reporter for the wall street journal, on the newspaper’s daily podcast “the journal.” “You can try to cover your tracks, but you can’t cover your tracks. And if the government wants to throw in enough resources to implement it, they can absolutely track every step bitcoin takes.”

The second is that if you want to get into crypto, you have to be very careful. it remains vulnerable to bad actors, including the shortsighted accused of sending Walmart purchases made with stolen money to their real addresses.

I gave you the quick version of the case, but you can find more information here, including more details about how the couple allegedly tried to hide their money.


The star-studded cryptocurrency super bowl announcements were the latest example of the entertainment industry’s growing interest in all things blockchain. In the past year, there has been a preponderance of players , musicians and athletes talking about digital. coins and nfts: unique digital records that authenticate ownership of an item, tracked in a digital ledger.

and now, this is what is happening in california:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

See also: Bitcoin&039s Big Believers: 6-Digits &039Inevitable,&039 BTC Has a Better Chance of Going to 100K Than Zero – Bitcoin News

Sea level rise poses dangerous threat to California coast as study raises new alarms. Los Angeles and other coastal areas of the United States will experience frequent flooding, degraded infrastructure and other profound challenges as sea levels rise by as much as 1 foot by 2050, according to a federal study released Tuesday. times of angels

la stories

a.c. gives. made racist comments in a case involving a black defendant, a memo alleges. An orange county prosecutor who was fired last week previously wrote a memo detailing racist comments he alleged from his boss, dist. attorney todd spitzer, made while discussing the case of a black accused murderer, according to copies of internal documents obtained by the time. times of angels

Rambs fans celebrate the super bowl champions at the victory parade in los angeles. what happened during the parade? we have all the highlights. los angeles times

politics and government

feinstein’s approval ratings hit an all-time low; harris underwater, the survey says. views of sen. Dianne Feinstein’s job performance has fallen to the lowest point in her three-decade Senate career, with just 30% of California voters giving her positive ratings in a new poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies co-sponsored by the angel times. Respondents gave Vice President Kamala Harris similarly lukewarm ratings. los angeles times

crime, courts and police

oakland police have arrested a man who witnesses say attacked an elderly man, his son and a bystander. police said the suspect was yelling at the elderly man in Chinatown and then punching him for no apparent reason. the man was arrested on elder abuse and assault charges, authorities said. ktvu

health and environment

As the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients continues to decline, Los Angeles County relaxed its mask-wearing rules outdoors on Wednesday. Revised guidance allows people to go outside without face coverings outdoors at K-12 schools (including transitional kindergarten) and childcare facilities and in outdoor areas at mega-events, such as those at the Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, sofi and los angeles memorial coliseum. times of angels

Californian culture

a man fell 75 feet from a viewing platform near the top of the palm springs cable car over the weekend and miraculously survived, authorities said. an employee at a restaurant on top of Mt. San Jacinto Summit noticed a man climbing over a railing Saturday just before he slipped and fell. times of angels

the diocese of san diego recommends new baptisms for people concerned about the priest’s error. A Catholic priest who recently resigned acknowledged that he erroneously performed thousands of baptisms in recent years. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is urging anyone concerned that his baptism may have been performed incorrectly to contact local priests for a repeat. the rev andrés arango would have said: “we baptize you in the name of the father, of the son and of the holy spirit”, a notable deviation from the “I baptize you…” protocol. san diego union-tribune

california almanac

los angeles: sunny 72 san diego: sunny 69 san francisco: sunny 64 san jose: sunny 69 fresno: sunny 70 sacramento: sunny 67. must. adopt.

and finally

today’s souvenir from california is from joe olson:

if you have a memory or a story about the golden state, please share it with us. (please keep your story to 100 words).

tell us what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send your comments to [email protected]

See also: How to Accept Crypto & Bitcoin Payments as a Small Business


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