A woman behind what the Justice Department called its "largest financial seizure ever" has captured the attention of the internet — but not because she’s accused of trying to launder billions in stolen bitcoins.
Heather Morgan and her husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, were arrested Tuesday and accused of conspiring to launder billions of dollars worth of bitcoin stolen during a 2016 hack targeting the virtual cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, the Justice Department said.
It didn’t take long after news of Morgan’s arrest broke for people to find her sizable online footprint. Morgan has since gone viral for her extensive social media presence, including her rap songs on YouTube and Spotify and her articles for Forbes.
Now, Morgan’s online presence has become as much of a spectacle as the operation she’s accused of.
Morgan went by the rapper name 'Razzlekhan'
According to court documents, Lichtenstein and Morgan are alleged to have conspired to launder the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoins that were stolen from a platform called Bitfinex after a hacker breached Bitfinex’s systems and initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions.
Justice Department documents list "Razzlekhan" as one of her aliases — which is also the name she used on her social media accounts, many of which she used to share her music.
On her website landing page, the description reads: “The infamous Crocodile of Wall Street strikes again! More fearless and more shameless than ever before, she’s taking on everyone from big software companies to healthcare to finance bros.”
She wrote that Razzlekhan is "like Genghis Khan, but with more pizzazz.”
In a now-private YouTube video titled "Rap Anthem for Misfits & Weirdos: Versace Bedouin Music Video," Morgan describes herself as a "rapper, an economist, a journalist, a writer, a CEO, and a dirty, dirty, dirty ho."
Her YouTube channel, Razzlekhan, included vlog-style videos in addition to rap music videos. In one, she showed off her "eyeball haul" of prosthetic eyes, which she said she planned to use for crafts. In a TikTok video posted in April, she asked viewers for advice on gluing a prosthetic eyeball onto a vintage brooch.
She also had some of her music on Spotify.
Attempts to reach her through her various accounts were unsuccessful. An attorney for Morgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since Morgan went viral for her rap career this week, all of the videos on her YouTube channel have been made private except for a livestream of a Black Lives Matter protest in New York.
Her TikTok accounts still appear to be active
Morgan's apparent TikTok accounts, heatherreyhan and realrazzlekhan, appear to still be active.
On the TikTok account heatherreyhan, Morgan boasted about building a "multimillion dollar business" at 23 years old with "zero outside funding and no connections." She stopped posting videos on the account after Jan. 7, 2021.
The account realrazzlekhan appeared more active.
In a recent video, Morgan showed viewers her collection of "Razzle nails," layers of nail polish that have peeled off her manicure in the shape of a fingernail. She said she was saving them for an art project.
On TikTok, Morgan referred to herself as a "$pace Pimp" and often posted videos of her feet in addition to videos of freestyle raps. In a video posted in July 2020, she makes "toe rings" out of gummy Lifesavers, stretching the candies over each toe. In later videos, she demonstrated how she uses chopsticks with feet.
Since news of her arrest broke, TikTok users have flooded Morgan's videos with comments.
On a video — in which Morgan documents her brunch and says she is making a "commentary on social media and how [expletive] superficial and consumerist our society is" — viewers pointed out the irony of her statement.
"What are you using the money for...? Consumerism?" a commenter said.
"How superficial our society is?" another replied. "You're literally pretending you earned the food you are eating."
Morgan wrote posts like, 'How To Become A Successful YouTuber In 2021'
In addition to posting frequently on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram (the latter account was also made private), Morgan was a frequent Forbes and Inc. contributor.
Her Forbes bio describers her as an "expert in persuasion, social engineering and game theory."
She frequently covered internet culture, writing essays about artists whose music went viral on TikTok, like Ashnikko and The Kid LAROI. She also wrote a post titled "How To Become A Successful YouTuber In 2021," profiling the fashion creator Bestdressed.
In an article interviewing experts about how business owners could protect themselves from cybercriminals, Morgan wrote, "The elderly are particularly vulnerable to these crimes, but the combination of weak cybersecurity and the treasure trove of personal information that’s available on the darknet makes anyone a potential victim."
Morgan and Lichtenstein are alleged to have used "numerous sophisticated money laundering techniques," the Justice Department said, such as using fake identities to make accounts, automating transactions using software and depositing the stolen funds into a variety of currency exchange accounts and "darknet markets" before withdrawing them, which "obfuscates the trail of the transaction history."
They are also alleged to have converted the bitcoins to other types of cryptocurrency and used business accounts based in the U.S. to "legitimize their banking activity."
"Cryptocurrency and the virtual currency exchanges trading in it comprise an expanding part of the U.S. financial system, but digital currency heists executed through complex money laundering schemes could undermine confidence in cryptocurrency," U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves in the Justice Department announcement.
The couple face up to 20 years of prison time if they are convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and up to five years if they are convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
The Justice Department said there will be a court process to claim and request return of any stolen bitcoins.