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Julie Cohen
Director of Marketing and Communications

Cahill’s Recent Cryptocurrency Practice News

Date: 03/15/22

Since Samson A. Enzer, former Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and a senior member of the SDNY Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, arrived at Cahill in November 2021, Cahill’s growing cryptocurrency practice has been featured and quoted in the media in regards to Sam’s arrival and high-profile representations in the space. Below is a roundup of recent news items.

SDNY Crypto Ace Joins Cahill's White Collar Defense Team. Law360. By Max Jaeger. (November 1, 2021)

“A former Southern District of New York prosecutor who took on alleged crypto con men, crooked bankers and late software-pioneer-turned-fugitive John McAfee has joined Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP's white collar practice in New York, the firm announced Monday.

Samson Enzer started at the elite BigLaw firm on Monday after eight years with the Department of Justice, where he received the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation's Prosecutor of the Year Award in 2014 and was nominated for the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award in 2018.

"It's been an incredible, whirlwind and exciting day," Enzer told Law360 toward the end of his first day with the firm. "I'm very excited to be joining Cahill. I picked them because they are a market leader in white collar defense and securities defense — they have an absolutely exceptional practice."”

To read the full article, please click here.

Cahill Gordon hires ex-prosecutor in McAfee crypto case. Reuters. By Jody Godoy. (November 1, 2021)

“A former prosecutor in Manhattan who charged John McAfee with cryptocurrency fraud has joined Cahill Gordon & Reindel, where he hopes to build a crypto defense practice.

Samson Enzer started on the "ground floor" of cryptocurrency enforcement by prosecuting some of the earliest cases brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, he said in an interview on Monday.

The case prosecutors brought in March alleging McAfee and an associate used Twitter to engage in a cryptocurrency pump-and-dump came together in part because of the pandemic, Enzer said.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel Represents Couple Accused of Laundering Billions in Stolen Bitcoin. The National Law Journal. By Andrew Goudsward. (February 9, 2022)

“A team at the New York-based firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel is representing a Manhattan couple charged in a cryptocurrency money laundering scheme that led to the largest financial seizure in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan were each accused of attempting to launder the proceeds of nearly 120,000 bitcoin, worth about $4.5 billion, that was stolen during the hack of a bitcoin exchange in 2016, according to prosecutors. They are charged in federal court in Washington, D.C. 

The DOJ said it managed to seize about $3.6 billion of the $4.5 billion total in bitcoin that was allegedly stolen during the 2016 hack of the virtual currency exchange known as Bitfinex. Officials declined to say if Lichtenstein and Morgan were suspected of involvement in that hack.

The couple’s defense team includes Cahill white-collar attorneys Anirudh Bansal and Samson Enzer. Both are former federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Bansal was co-chief of the office’s complex frauds unit.

Enzer was part of the office’s securities and commodities fraud task force. He worked on several “groundbreaking cryptocurrency-related prosecutions” and is “one of the leading cryptocurrency enforcement practitioners to come out of government service in recent years,” according to his biography on the firm’s website.

Enzer joined Cahill in November, part of a wave of cryptocurrency hires in Big Law in recent months.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Woman Gets Pretrial Release For Bitcoin Laundering Scheme. Law360. By Khorri Atkinson. (February 14, 2022)

“A D.C. federal judge on Monday released from jail one half of the couple facing charges that they laundered $3.6 billion worth of bitcoin stolen in the 2016 attack on the Bitfinex exchange that the government seized last week, while the other will remain in custody.

After an afternoon hearing on the government's emergency motion to review the magistrate judge's order, Chief District Judge Beryl A. Howell ordered Heather Morgan, 31, placed under house arrest in New York with GPS electronic monitoring. Her husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, will remain in a D.C. jail. Each faces the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence for money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

This decision came after U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman of the Southern District of New York on Feb. 7 set bail at $3 million for Morgan and $5 million for Lichtenstein following their arrest in New York before they face trial in the District of Columbia.

In Monday's hearing, defense attorney Samson Enzer of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP urged Judge Howell to reject the government's claim that his clients would flee while the case proceeds to trial. He said both were subpoenaed since November and retained counsel, showing they were serious about defending against any charges against them.

He also said the couple were unlikely to flee because they have frozen several of Morgan's embryos at a hospital in New York in anticipation of starting a family, as she can only conceive through in vitro fertilization.

"They would literally leave their future behind if they leave," Enzer said. 

Lichtenstein and Morgan are represented by Anirudh Bansal and Samson Enzer of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Ilya Lichtenstein Ordered Detained Until Crypto Trial; Heather Morgan Released. The Wall Street Journal. By Aruna Viswanatha. (February 14, 2022)

“WASHINGTON—A federal judge ordered the pretrial detention of one member of the young Manhattan couple arrested last week on charges of conspiring to launder billions of dollars in stolen bitcoin, saying the steep penalties the two potentially face and the husband’s alleged familiarity with fake personas meant he could try to flee if released.

At a Monday hearing in federal court here, Chief Judge Beryl Howell reversed in part a decision by another judge in New York last week to grant bond for the couple, Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, with restrictions including their parents’ homes being posted as security.

At the Monday hearing, Mr. Enzer said he believed the couple wouldn’t be able to adequately defend themselves if incarcerated before trial, given Covid-19-era restrictions on contacts with anyone outside the jail, including their own lawyers. He also said he believed the government could likely restrict the digital-currency accounts that prosecutors believe the couple could still access, and he pointed to the fact that the couple didn’t flee even after the January search as evidence that the couple wouldn’t try to do so if released. “The government arrested them in the very same place,” he said.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Julie Cohen
Director of Marketing and Communications