Heather Morgan, AKA the rapper Razzlekhan, has been arrested along with her husband over their alleged involvement in laundering 119,754 stolen bitcoin.
Morgan and Ilya ‘Dutch’ Lichtenstein were arrested in Manhattan on Tuesday (February 8) after they were accused of conspiring to launder cryptocurrency, which was allegedly stolen after a hacker broke into the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in August 2016 and initiated over 2,000 unauthorised transactions.
Those transactions were valued at $71million (£52.3m) in bitcoin at the time of the alleged theft, but are now valued at over $4.5billion (£3.3billion). US Department of Justice officials said in a statement that they have since seized over $3.6billion in cryptocurrency (94,000 bitcoin) linked to that hack.
The department’s legal complaint alleges that Lichtenstein and Morgan “employed numerous sophisticated laundering techniques” for the bitcoin, and the couple now face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering – which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison – and conspiracy to defraud the US, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
As The Guardian reports, Anirudh Bansal, a defence attorney for the couple, described the charges as “thin” and added: “I don’t think you’ll find that billions of dollars have been laundered.”
Morgan’s past as a rapper under the moniker Razzlekhan has subsequently come to light in the days following the couple’s arrest.
— Heather R Morgan (rzk.eth) (@HeatherReyhan) February 6, 2022
On her website, Razzlekhan is described as “like Genghis Khan, but with more pizzazz” and “the infamous Crocodile of Wall Street”.
“Because Razz has synaesthesia, her art often resembles something in between an acid trip and a delightful nightmare,” a description on Razzlekhan’s website reads. “Definitely not for the faint of heart or easily offended, Razz likes to push the limits of what people are comfortable with. Her style has often been described as ‘sexy horror comedy,’ because of her fondness for combining dark and disturbing concepts with dirty jokes and gestures.
“Just like her fearless entrepreneurial spirit and hacker mindset, Razz shamelessly explores new frontiers of art, pushing the limit of what’s possible. Whether that leads to something wonderful or terrible is unclear; the only thing that’s certain is it won’t be boring or mediocre.”
In a statement about Morgan and Lichtenstein’s arrest, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said: “Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals.
“In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter what form it takes.”
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