Today in Crime
Born to Die! New York's New York. The turn of the century. All crime!!
If you want to make up a name that sounds like it belongs to a criminal, just put two countries together. Famous jewel thief Venezuela Belize. Confidence trickster Ethiopia Vatican. Legendary getaway driver Jamaica Ukraine. Crypto launderer Dutch Lichtenstein. All obviously crime-doers, particularly the last one who was arrested by the FBI yesterday and charged with trying to launder $4.5 billion in bitcoin stolen in 2016 from the Hong Kong based crypto exchange Bitfinex, a crime so big that the value of bitcoin dropped 20% when it happened. Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, an alleged entrepreneur and cat food taste-tester, and his wife Heather Morgan, a self-proclaimed eccentric and “rapper” whose flow is so wack that calling it wack is an insult to the word wack “are accused of moving 119,754 bitcoins… through a series of crypto wallets in maneuvers that were allegedly designed to evade authorities” report Kevin T. Dugan and Matt Stieb in New York Magazine. According to Sarah N. Lynch, Raphael Satter and Luc Cohen in Reuters they “spent the illegal proceeds on items ranging from gold and non-fungible tokens to a $500 Walmart gift card.” Only 8,999,999 more Walmart gift cards and they would have got away with it.
The problem with this story from a Tabs perspective is that both of them are on every social media platform and neither of them had anything to do but post, so there is far too much terrible content to deal with. Heather Morgan has her own bonkers rap website, a Twitter, a Tiktok, a LinkedIn, a SoundCloud, and even contributed articles to Forbes like “Experts Share Tips To Protect Your Business From Cybercriminals.” Danish Luxembourg kept things a little lower key, mainly sticking to LinkedIn and Twitter, but you still don’t have to scroll far to find a gem like:
Lol, but in a very real sense: lmao.
Matt Levine’s newsletter today is almost entirely about this story, and I can’t really say anything worthwhile that he hasn’t said, so just go read Matt. Or at least take his “important money-laundering tip:”
If you come to a bank with a sack of cash and say “I, uh, inherited this from my grandmother, she kept cash in sacks,” that is somewhat hard for the authorities to check. If you come to a crypto exchange with a sack of Bitcoins and say “I got these cheap in 2014,” that is easier to check. Permanent immutable public ledger on the blockchain!
Also today in people behaving badly: Cryptoland refuses to take the L, posting a long conspiracy theory to Medium claiming that Molly White orchestrated a dastardly sock puppet attack that tricked them into endorsing underage sex on Twitter. So many screenshots, so many little red boxes. And Rob Price looked at so-called “$5 wrench attacks” on crypto whales for Insider:
Hacks and digital scams are a dime a dozen in crypto circles — but security experts, investors, and others in the space say not enough attention is being paid to physical crimes targeting crypto owners, from simple robberies to home invasions, kidnappings, torture, and even murder.
It must be tough when the security risks of your wealth demand that you keep it secret but the source of your wealth is a pyramid scheme that demands you flaunt it to lure in new suckers. What a pickle. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Hey remember Grid dot news? Me neither, but Anya van Wagtendonk, Benjamin Powers, and Steve Reilly dug into the Facebook groups organizing the Ottawa Truck Boys Nazi Jamboree and found that they were all started by a hacked account stolen from a random Missouri woman. Authentic! Real vox populi stuff going on up there, just like 2016. Speaking of which, Philip Bump wondered why “a New Mexico county Trump won by 25 points” in 2020 is spending $50,000 looking for voter fraud, and inadvertently summarized today’s Tabs: “It’s all completely unhinged, a universe of surreality fueled by opportunists and novices.”
The opportunists are teaming up with the novices on Riker’s Island, according to Gabrielle Bluestone’s profile of Danielle Miller, who teamed up with Anna Delvey and Ciera Blas in a sort of Manhattan Celebrity Grifters Union.
This past May, Miller was recovering from Brazilian butt-lift surgery in the luxury Miami apartment with the help of two private nurses and an OxyContin prescription when the front desk called her down to the lobby. When she opened her door, federal agents rushed in. “It was really scary. I was in my body suit and they pushed me against the wall and I couldn’t even move. I was literally like, ‘I just got surgery, I just got surgery, I just got surgery!’ ” she says. “They’re like, ‘Oh, we know.’ ”
…Authorities say they also found an iPhone that contained emails between Chime Financial and Miller in which she posed as one of her victims, writing to Chime that she was “extremely angry and in tears” over her money’s being held hostage. It reminded me of a photo caption she once posted on an Instagram Story, which she says is a joke from law school: “Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition.” Anna Delvey replied, “Tell me about it.”
And Katie J.M. Baker has a long story about the friendship between Anna Graham Hunter and disgraced former NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman which will definitely make you mad if you only read two thirds of it. If you read the whole thing it might still make you mad but at least you’ll be mad fair and square. What starts out looking like a “bad man comes to terms with the harm he caused and truly works to change” story turns into more of a “man was willing to accept 'doing more yoga' as a consequence, but professional censure was too much for him” story.
Woke-washing REI anti-union podcast starts with pronouns and indigenous land acknowledgements. Charles Dickens’s “savage stenographic mystery” partly decoded. “New data on how Americans drank themselves to death during the pandemic.” (Subhed: “It's not great”). And War on the Boar: Emily McCullar wrote Californians some advice from Texas on their new feral hog problem. “If you take the thousand-year view, it doesn’t seem like we’re going to win the war against the boar. Maybe start planning for a future. What can you do to please the hogs?”
Today’s Song: Wet Leg wrote the Tabs theme song, “Oh No”
~ I’m scrolling I’m scrolling, ah ~
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