The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
Virtual Reality Bytes
FiDi Couple Arrested on Charges of Laundering Billions
Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, residents of 75 Wall Street, have been arrested and charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars in stolen virtual currency.
A married couple living in the Financial District were arrested by FBI agents on Tuesday morning, and charged with conspiracy to launder billions of dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrency. Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, were arrested in their home, at 75 Wall Street, according to federal prosecutors.
Mr. Lichtenstein and Ms. Morgan are alleged to have been in possession, through various online accounts, of 94,000 bitcoin, the virtual currency, which had been stolen by hackers from a digital exchange, Bitfinex, in 2016. The current value of that quantity of bitcoin is more than $3.6 billion.
While the couple are not currently charged with having participated in the 2016 robbery, federal agents tracing the proceeds from the Bitfinex theft followed a digital trail that led to accounts controlled by Mr. Lichtenstein and Ms. Morgan.
Armed with search warrants and court orders, investigators accessed those accounts, and seized the proceeds at the same time they took the couple into custody. This marks the largest-ever seizure by the Department of Justice—not just of cryptocurrency, but of any asset class, including narcotics, real estate, and traditional currencies.
Ms. Morgan describes herself on one social media site as the co-founder and CEO of a venture that uses, “artificial intelligence to automate identity verification while proactively detecting fraud.” She also claims to be an expert in, “reverse-engineering black markets to think of better ways to combat fraud and cybercrime.”
It appears that Ms. Morgan and Mr. Lichtenstein partnered to launch a tech company named Endpass sometime after the Bitfinex robbery. They describe the firm in online postings as, “a blockchain startup solving problems in decentralized identity and authentication.”
The criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors on Tuesday alleges that the couple, “employed numerous sophisticated laundering techniques, including using fictitious identities to set up online accounts; utilizing computer programs to automate transactions, a laundering technique that allows for many transactions to take place in a short period of time; depositing the stolen funds into accounts at a variety of virtual currency exchanges and darknet markets and then withdrawing the funds, which obfuscates the trail of the transaction history by breaking up the fund flow.” Investigators also charge that Mr. Lichtenstein and Ms. Morgan converted the stolen bitcoin to other virtual currencies, including “anonymity-enhanced virtual currency,” a form of digital cash that appears specifically designed to conceal the ownership and movement of funds.
Mr. Lichtenstein and Ms. Morgan are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and “conspiracy to defraud the United States”—a broad category of offenses that includes cheating the government out of property or money, or using deceit to interfere with any of its lawful functions. The first count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the second is punishable by up to five years of incarceration.
Three Among Every Hundred of Your Neighbors May Soon Be Gone
More than 600 Lower Manhattan households are facing the prospect of being forced from their homes, in the wake of New York State’s eviction moratorium expiring in mid-January.
This data comes from an analysis by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), an umbrella organization of 100 non-profit affordable housing and economic development groups that serve low- and moderate-income residents in all five boroughs of the City. ANHD’s report, “New York’s Pandemic Rent Crisis,” documents that eviction proceedings have been filed against 656 rental tenants in the eight residential zip codes that comprise Lower Manhattan.
‘A Weakened Voice for the People of Battery Park City’
Niou Votes Against Redistricting Plan That Will Exile Lower Manhattan to Staten Island
As controversy continues to swirl around a legislative redistricting plan that is widely perceived to disenfranchise Lower Manhattan by severing Battery Park City and the Financial District from the surrounding communities and instead grafting them onto Staten Island, one elected official has taken a stand against the proposal.
As the scheme came before the State Assembly on Thursday, Yuh-Line Niou (who represents Lower Manhattan in that house of the State Legislature) was one of a small handful of lawmakers who voted against the plan.
“Today, I voted to oppose the proposed redistricting maps put forward by the legislature,” Ms. Niou said afterward, “and it is important to me that my constituents understand why I felt it necessary to take this step.
Creativity, unleashed. Kids of all ages are welcome to get artsy and crafty at our Seaport Kids Crafts’ workshops on Wednesdays. Have your Littles bring their big ideas; we’ll have all the supplies on hand—with a different theme each week.
If you wish to access the meeting using the meeting code and password:
Meeting code/ID: 2337 132 2080; password “mcb1” without the quotes.
To phone into the meeting:
+1-408-418-9388 Access code: 2337 132 2080
Press *3 to raise your hand if you are dialing in through the phone.
Press *6 to unmute yourself when directed to so by the host.
The World According to China
With the 2022 Winter Olympics coming up, China is very much in the global spotlight. What image does the rising power want to project to the world? In her compelling new book, The World According to China, Elizabeth Economy argues that Chinese President Xi Jinping has bold ambitions to transform the international system. Join us for a virtual conversation moderated by Professor Minxin Pei as she explains what that tells us about China—and what it means for the rest of the world.
The Museum’s director, Carol Willis, will offer a gallery tour of SUPERTALL 2021 that surveys 58 supertalls worldwide and highlights a dozen recently completed towers that represent some of the most stunning new forms and innovative approaches to structural engineering around the world today. Free.
Today, cook at home and online with the Da Claudio Ristorante proprietor Claudio Marini and executive chef David Sandoval. Learn to make fusilli avellinesi with lamb ragu, saffron cream, micro greens, and fresh homemade pasta. Free.
1. 44 Walker Street, outstanding violations for restoration work done on the facade in 2003 – Discussion and possible resolution
2. 47 Vestry Street, application to replace the existing copper and glass cover with new to match – Resolution
Legacies: Abe Foxman
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Abraham H. Foxman is one of the nation’s preeminent voices against antisemitism and hate. Join the Museum for a conversation with Foxman about his personal background, his life’s work, and his outlook on antisemitism today. Born in Poland in 1940, Foxman survived the Holocaust when his parents entrusted him to their Catholic nursemaid, who baptized him and raised him as her own son. He went on to become a pioneering National Director of ADL from 1987 to 2015, elevating the organization’s national profile and forging connections far beyond the Jewish community. Free; suggested $10 donation.
Friday February 11
Golden Blossoms: Looking into China’s Exclusive Poetic Couplets
Led by Ben Wang, CI’s Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities, this free virtual workshop is designed for K-12 educators (though we welcome all to attend) to help advance a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of Chinese classical poetry. In addition, by sharing his personal collection of the rare original couplet in calligraphy, Mr. Wang will showcase how the calligraphic art form expresses meaning and personal style, while capturing the moments of a feeling. Free
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Ethical and respectable gentleman, an IT Wizard, seeks a living/work space in BPC. Can be a Computer help to you and your business, or will guarantee $1,500 for rental. Reciprocal would be great!
Please contact: 914-588-5284
20+ years experience
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
78 year old refined intellectual gentleman having a passion for cruises and travel seeking a male or female caregiver/companion in exchange for all expense paid venture on the ocean. Only requirement is relationship comfort between us and ability to help with physical care regarding the limitations and restrictions of COPD.
Redistricting Grafts Downtown Assembly District Onto Staten Island
In a move that has stupefied and outraged local leaders, the legislature in Albany has proposed to redraw lines for the State Assembly that will divide Lower Manhattan, and transfer its representation to a district on Staten Island.
The current boundaries are slated for change because the 2020 Census has the legal effect of automatically triggering a recalibration of all election district boundaries within the State. This task has fallen to the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), which has operated largely in secret for several weeks. To read more…
‘Our Representative Won’t Give A Damn About Us’
CB1 Discusses Harm to Lower Manhattan from Gerrymandered Assembly District Lines
Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 became the forum for a vehement discussion of the proposed legislative redistricting that will uproot Battery Park City and the western Financial District from Lower Manhattan, and instead relegate representation of these communities in the State Assembly to Staten Island.
Committee member Jeff Galloway began by noting, “it is manifestly absurd to have an Assembly district shaped this way. The New York State Assembly is the legislative body that is meant to be most closely tied to the people it represents. That’s why there are many more Assembly members than State Senators, and why each Assembly seat represents a smaller district, with a smaller population,” than in the State Senate. To read more…
Get Rich or Get Out
Analysis By Housing Group Cites Declining Affordability in Lower Manhattan
A leading housing advocacy organization has completed an exhaustive look at threats to affordability in every community in the five boroughs, and has found that Lower Manhattan ranks among the ten most at-risk neighborhoods by one key metric, while also placing in the 20 most-endangered by another.
The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), an umbrella organization of 100 non-profit affordable housing and economic development groups that serve low- and moderate-income residents in all five boroughs of the City, has published the 2021 edition of its annual roundup, “How Is Affordable Housing Threatened In Your Neighborhood.” For this report, Lower Manhattan was defined as the catchment of Community Board 1, a collection of neighborhoods encompassing 1.5 square miles, bounded roughly by Canal, Baxter, and Pearl Streets, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Annual Food Fest Puts Lavish Meals within Reach of Thrifty Epicures
New York’s annual food celebration, Restaurant Week continues for five weeks, until Saturday (February 13).
For those disinclined to venture above Canal Street, the goods news is that of all the 481 establishments participating throughout the City this year, more than five percent are located in Lower Manhattan.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.
Fulton Street cobblestones between South and Front Sts. across from McNally Jackson Bookstore.
Locally grown produce from Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, and other farmers and small-batch specialty food products, sold directly by their producers. Producers vary from week to week.
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted at all farmers markets.
TODAY IN HISTORY
Jefferson and Varina Davis
474 – Zeno is crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.
1555 – Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper is burned at the stake.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: The British Parliament declares Massachusetts in rebellion.
1788 – The Habsburg Empire joins the Russo-Turkish War in the Russian camp.
1825 – After no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes in the presidential election of 1824, the United States House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams as President of the United States.
861 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is elected the Provisional President of the Confederate States of America by the Confederate convention at Montgomery, Alabama.
1913 – A group of meteors is visible across much of the eastern seaboard of North and South America, leading astronomers to conclude the source had been a small, short-lived natural satellite of the Earth.
1950 – Second Red Scare: Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses the United States Department of State of being filled with Communists.
1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers across the USA.
1971 – Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League player to be voted into the USA’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 14 returns to Earth after the third manned Moon landing.
1996 – Discovered by Sigurd Hofmann and colleagues in 1996, Copernicium is a man-made element of which only a few atoms have ever been made. It is formed by fusing lead and zinc atoms in a heavy ion accelerator. It is a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Cn and atomic number 112. Its known isotopes are extremely radioactive, and have only been created in a laboratory. The most stable known isotope, copernicium-285, has a half-life of approximately 28 seconds.
1846 – Wilhelm Maybach, German engineer and businessman, founded Maybach (d. 1929)
1737 – Thomas Paine, English-American philosopher, author, and activist (d. 1809)
1773 – William Henry Harrison, American general and politician, 9th President of the United States (d. 1841)
1814 – Samuel J. Tilden, American lawyer and politician, 28th Governor of New York (d. 1886)
1846 – Wilhelm Maybach, German engineer and businessman, founded Maybach (d. 1929)
1909 – Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-Brazilian actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1955)
1909 – Dean Rusk, American colonel and politician, 54th United States Secretary of State (d. 1994)
1942 – Carole King, American singer-songwriter and pianist
1943 – Joseph Stiglitz, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
1945 – Mia Farrow, American actress
1014 – Yang Yanzhao, Chinese general
1135 – Tai Zong, Chinese emperor (b. 1075)
1881 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and philosopher (b. 1821)
1977 – Sergey Ilyushin, Russian engineer and businessman, founded the Ilyushin Design Company (b. 1894)
1984 – Yuri Andropov, Russian lawyer and politician (b. 1914)
Credit: Wikipedia and other internet and non-internet sources