The bizarre case of a New York couple Accused of trying to launder $4.5 billion worth of stolen bitcoin in a 2016 hack will be the subject of a documentary series on Netflix, the broadcast company said Friday.
The announcement comes just three days after the couple, Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein and Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan, They were arrested at their lower Manhattan apartment.
The Justice Department at the time of the arrest said it had also seized more than $3.6 billion in bitcoin that were part of the alleged scheme, the largest such financial seizure in Justice Department history.
Netflix said the series about the couple will be directed by Chris Smith, who directed the Netflix series “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” about the fraudulent Fyre Festival, and was an executive producer on the company’s pandemic hit. of Covid “Tiger King”. .”
The deal comes amid a surge in Hollywood’s appetite for stories about the world of technology, primarily its failures and frauds.
HBO this week ordered a series called “Doomsday Machine,” which features Sheryl Sandberg, played by “The Crown” star Claire Foy, and Mark Zuckerberg, and “chronicles the political and social minefields that Facebook has navigated in his relentless pursuit of growth.
Also this week, Hulu released the trailer for its upcoming series about Theranos, a failed blood-testing startup called “The Drop Out,” and Apple recently released its trailer for the WeWork-inspired series “WeCrashed.”
No doubt what fuels Netflix’s interest is Morgan’s colorful footprint on social media. The 31-year-old is a former Forbes.com contributor and a self-described “irreverent comedic rapper” and “Wall Street crocodile” whose rap videos were widely mocked on Twitter after her arrest.
“As the value of the stolen bitcoin skyrocketed from $71 million at the time of the attack to nearly $5 billion, the pair allegedly tried to liquidate their digital money by creating fake identities and online accounts, and buying physical gold, NFT and more. all while researchers scrambled to track the movement of money on the blockchain,” Netflix said in its announcement on Friday.
Prosecutors say the pair tried to hide the source of the bitcoin, stolen in a 2016 hack from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, through numerous byzantine transactions.
Lichtenstein, 34, and Morgan remain in federal custody. They are to appear in US District Court in Washington, DC, for a hearing on whether they can be released on bail.
Prosecutors want to keep them locked up awaiting trial in Washington.
But their defense attorneys want them released on bail set Tuesday in New York by another judge, who set bail at $5 million for Lichtenstein and $3 million for Morgan.
one of his lawyers said Wednesday in a court filing that the couple is not a flight risk because “previously they froze several of [Morgan’s] embryos at a New York hospital in anticipation of starting a family together, since she can only conceive through in vitro fertilization.
“The couple would never flee the country at the risk of losing access to their ability to have children, which they were discussing having this year until their lives were upended by the arrests in this case,” the attorney wrote.