On the morning of August 2, 2016 all around the globe, thousands of unsuspecting crypto investors woke up to find their digital wallets mysteriously wiped out. News broke of a shocking digital heist: nearly 120,000 bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex and the start of a manhunt for the hackers. It has all the ingredients of a wide screen thriller…only this one is true, and is unfolding to be “super, super weird,” according to one of the investors targeted in the hack.
CNBC takes you inside one of the largest crypto currency heists in history and delivers a revealing look at the investigation to recover $3.6 billion dollars in bitcoin. According to court records, the five-year long investigation ultimately led the feds to the Wall Street apartment of a young married couple where the IRS says they uncovered burner phones, multiple passports, hollowed out books and the private keys investigators used to access billions in stolen crypto connected to the hack. Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein were later arrested in the alleged multi-billion dollar crypto laundering scheme.
When news of the arrests broke and the world discovered hundreds of videos the couple shared on social media, the story went viral. Music videos of Morgan rapping on YouTube as the so-called “Crocodile of Wall Street” and videos of her husband saying he’s tried their exotic Bengal cat’s pet food had everyone asking how this couple could be accused of such an elaborate scheme.
CNBC’s in-depth report delivers a revealing look at the duo from the rise of Razzlekahn, Morgan’s rapping alter ego to the day she bizarrely stripped down to her bra in front of dozens of startup founders, to Lichtenstein’s startup companies and the couple’s stranger-than-fiction wedding day. Eamon Javers’ reporting exposes fascinating details about their unusual lives from people who knew and worked with them and reveals exactly how the feds accuse the couple of conspiring to launder billions in bitcoin.
CNBC uncovers how a five-year investigation led to the largest financial seizure in DOJ history and what happens next as hack victims, the government and Bitfinex battle over who really owns the billions in recovered bitcoin.
00:00 – Introduction to the bitcoin heist
04:43 – Tracking the stolen crypto
11:16 – Getting to know the accused couple
22:29 – The day my crypto vanished
26:54 – Tracking the stolen bitcoin
35:30 – A master class in manipulation
37:49 – Investigators begin closing in
40:28 – Battling over billions in bitcoin
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Crocodile Of Wall Street And The Battle Over Billions In Stolen Bitcoin