The real-life story of an American couple accused of laundering billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin stolen from the 2016 hacking of Bitfinex is set to hit the big screen, with Amazon and MGM Studios collaborating on the production.
The film, titled “Razzlekhan,” draws inspiration from a 2022 article in The New York Times and will be directed by Hannah Marks, known for her work on “Don’t Make Me Go” in the anticipated Amazon production.
Amazon To Adapt True Story Of Bitcoin Heist
According to a Deadline report, the Amazon-backed production film will revolve around the true story of Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, a millennial couple who masterminded the theft of over $3 billion in cryptocurrency.
Eventually apprehended by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the couple’s criminal activities form the basis of the film’s narrative. The title “Razzlekhan” derives from the rapper stage name used by Morgan, who, along with Lichtenstein, faced conspiracy charges to launder the stolen Bitcoin in February 2022, as disclosed by the FBI.
In August 2023, Bitcoinist reported that both Lichtenstein and Morgan, with the latter known as the “Crocodile of Wall Street,” pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy charges brought against them by the DOJ.
The couple admitted to laundering the proceeds from the hack, which involved approximately 120,000 BTC stolen from the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange.
Following their arrest in February 2022, authorities seized over 95,000 of the stolen Bitcoins, valued at nearly $3.6 billion. This marked the largest seizure in the agency’s history.
Subsequently, the DOJ identified and recovered an additional $475 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen in the hack, attracting the attention of MGM and Amazon to work together to bring the story to the big screen.
Bitfinex Hacker Faces Maximum Penalty
Court documents revealed that Lichtenstein orchestrated the hack in 2016, employing “sophisticated” hacking tools and techniques to gain unauthorized access to Bitfinex’s network.
Lichtenstein executed over 2,000 transactions through fraudulent authorization, transferring 119,754 BTC to his crypto wallet. To cover his tracks, Lichtenstein tampered with Bitfinex’s system, deleting access credentials, log files, and other digital evidence that could link him to the crime.
At the time of the Bitfinex hack, Bitcoin traded below $1,000. However, its value had surged to around $44,000 by the time the couple was arrested in 2022, which increased the worth of the stolen tokens to roughly $4.5 billion.
Ilya Lichtenstein faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering, while Heather Morgan, after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and another count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, could face up to five years of imprisonment.
The release date of the highly anticipated film, produced by industry giants Amazon and MGM, is yet to be announced.
Bitcoin’s value has increased by 2.6% over the past 24 hours, allowing the dominant cryptocurrency to reclaim the $43,100 threshold.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com
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