An alleged fraudster dubbed The Crocodile of Wall Street over claims she laundered $4.5 billion in has been freed on bail – but her husband has been ordered to stay in jail.
Heather Morgan was freed by a judge Monday, pending trial by a federal court.But her husband Ilya Lichtenstein remains behind bars due to prosecutors’ fears that he could seek immunity in , where he is also a citizen.
Judge Beryl Howell said on Monday that 31-year-old Morgan, referred as ‘Razzlekahn’ due to her rapping background, was no longer held in custody after the government deemed that she wasn’t as involved in the planning of the alleged crimes as her 34-year-ld husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, who was largely in control of the funds.
The judge also considered Morgan’s health issues as a factor, after she had recently had surgery to remove a lump in her breast.With follow-up appointments expected, she will be closely monitored with an ankle bracelet GPS monitor while she is under house arrest.
Morgan has also been given restrictions on computer use, and a ban on carrying out cryptocurrency transactions.
The defense told the court that both defendants would guarantee to appear for all remaining court dates, and pointed out that both of their families, who were in court, were willing to bet their homes on it.
However, Howell finally ruled that there would be a significant ‘flight risk’ for Lichtenstein and agreed with federal prosecutors who insisted that just a portion of the millions in cryptocurrency that the couple stole could buy a new house or ‘buy each of their parents a private island.’
The judge also shared her concerns that Lichtenstein, who is a dual citizen of the United States and Russia, could seek refuge in a eastern European country, where he could possibly be granted immunity.
In this courtroom sketch, attorney Sam Enzer, center, sits between Heather Morgan, left, and her husband, Ilya ‘Dutch’ Lichtenstein, in federal court on February 8, 2022, in New York.The couple are accused of conspiring to launder billions of dollars in cryptocurrency stolen from the 2016 hack of a virtual currency exchange
This illustration photo shows Heather Morgan, also known as ‘Razzlekhan,’ on a phone in front of the Bitcoin logo displayed on a screen. Along with Lichtenstein, Morgan has been arrested for the couple’s Bitcoin laundering scheme but has been freed after paying bail