A ‘comedic rapper’ accused of money laundering in connection with the Bitfinex breach has been released on bail
Heather Morgan, as “Razzlekhan,” is a self-described serial entrepreneur and prolific writer who has been accused of money laundering and conspiracy in connection with the 2016 Bitfinex breach.
Heather Morgan, 31, of New York City, describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur, prolific writer, irreverent comedy rapper, and investor in high-growth B2B software startups.”
However, her LinkedIn profile makes no mention of her supposed capacity to assist in the laundering of stolen cryptocurrencies.
FBI investigators detained Morgan — or was it her rapper alter ego Razzlekhan? — and her husband Ilya Lichtenstein yesterday for allegedly plotting to launder cryptocurrency related to the 2016 Bitfinex hack, which resulted in the theft of 119,756 Bitcoin (BTC) from the cryptocurrency exchange.
The couple asserted their innocence at a court hearing in New York on Tuesday and were freed on multimillion-dollar bail.
The 119,756 BTC stolen from Bitfinex in August 2016 was worth $72 million, but is now worth more than $5.1 billion. Since the 2016 breach, people associated with the stolen assets have transferred modest amounts of BTC in isolated transactions, leaving the majority of the cash undisturbed.
According to the DoJ, 25,000 BTC of these money were tracked to bank accounts held by Lichtenstein and Morgan. Special agents then gained access to and seized more than 94,000 BTC — then worth $3.6 billion — from Morgan and Lichtenstein after a search warrant permitted them to see files containing the wallet’s secret keys.
According to the DoJ complaint, the couple is charged with conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to defraud the United States, but not with hacking. The first charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the second carries a maximum sentence of five years.
While Lichtenstein may seem to be a typical tech entrepreneur, Morgan has a robust social media presence, where you can discover TikToks exhibiting art influenced by her Synesthesia, as well as her “WEIRD AF” music videos.
And you don’t want to miss these – they contain gems like “I’m the granny you’re looking to slap.” Morgan, who is in her early thirties, raps this during her song “Versace Bedouin” while lounging in a glittery bathtub. How does one get from being a rapper to becoming the subject of an FBI hacking investigation?
According to her LinkedIn profile, she began her career as an economist in Asia and the Middle East, particularly post-Arab Spring Egypt.
She “got absorbed in the tech startup culture” after returning to California and ultimately relocating to Silicon Valley. In 2009, she started SalesFolk, a B2B firm that specialised in cold emails.
Although she did not begin her rapping career until 2018, it is apparent that she had been honing her lines for some time. The company’s motto, “Be a goat, not a sheep!” strikes the perfect blend of ridiculousness and subtle philosophical allusion; it’s a surprising it didn’t originate directly from one of her songs.
Related: The Department of Justice seizes $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency and charges two individuals in connection with the 2016 Bitfinex hack
Meanwhile, she was racking up bylines on business and technology publications, such as her December 2017 Forbes article “Should your company be concerned about being blacklisted?” and her seemingly well-informed June 2020 Forbes piece “Experts Share Tips To Protect Your Business From Cybercriminals.” Additionally, she has an extensive author profile in Inc Magazine.