Heather Morgan. Source: Video screenshot, Web3 | NFT News, Cryptocurrency and Meta Universe / YouTube
Half of the husband-and-wife duo accused by U.S. prosecutors of trying to launder a monster bitcoin (BTC) allegedly raided from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in a 2016 hack are discussing a possible "plea deal" with authorities.
CNBC reported that a federal prosecutor told the court Monday that he and attorneys for Heather Morgan, 31, were "discussing a possible resolution of her criminal case" that would not require a trial.
Morgan is accused of trying to launder part of the 119,754 cache of BTC with her husband Ilya "Dutch" Lichtenstein, 34, who is a technology investor.
Morgan himself is a former rapper and CEO of a copywriting firm. After raiding their Manhattan apartment last month, federal agents filed court documents that included USB flash drives, dozens of "burner" cell phones and photos of emptied books.
Officials also froze and confiscated approximately $3.6 million worth of bitcoin.
The media outlet added that Lichtenstein "did not appear at the hearing," adding that he was denied bail and "remains in prison.
The virtual hearing was held in Washington, D.C., where Assistant District Attorney Christopher Brown, who specializes in cybercrime, asked the judge to suspend Morgan's "trial clock" until the next hearing, scheduled for March 25.
Individuals charged with federal felonies must be tried within 70 days of indictment, but Brown noted that "a great deal of evidence" will be "shared with defense counsel" – which will be "complex and voluminous.
CNBC wrote that the assistant prosecutor claimed that the evidence "would include thousands of financial transactions involving cryptocurrencies and U.S. dollars, over a five-year period, involving dozens of financial accounts in the defendants' names.
Brown added that the delay would "allow the parties to engage in discussions to resolve the case without a trial."
In the report submitted to the court, the prosecution also wrote.
“The government and defense attorneys are in discussions about the possible disposition of the matter.”
Gerald Lefcourt, a New York attorney and former president of the National Association of Criminal Lawyers, was quoted in the same media as saying
“They’re plea bargains. That’s typical language. In many cases, the government accidentally learns a lot before it files [a criminal case] Intelligent defense counsel sees the writing on the wall.”
Learn more. – Bitfinex Hack: Ilya Lichtenstein Still in Federal Custody, Heather Morgan Released on Bail – Here are the photos the agents say they took of the "Bitfinex hacked" couple in their apartment
– The US government is now the top bitcoin whale. What happens next? – Cryptocurrency Security in 2022: Preparing for More DeFi Hacks, Exchange Disruptions, and Novice Mistakes