Ohio man Larry Dean Harmon (Larry Dean Harmon) admitted to laundering more than $300 million when operating Helix, a dark web-based Bitcoin hybrid service.
On August 19, the U.S. Department of Justice Announce The 38-year-old man admitted to laundering more than 350,000 Bitcoins through Helix between 2014 and 2017.
Bitcoin mixers are used to help people anonymize their Bitcoins. In the past, this helped people hide their tracks on the Bitcoin ledger because all transactions are recorded on the blockchain and are immutable. As a result, the mixer became a favorite of criminals.
Harmon admitted in court that he knew that users had mixed the proceeds from drug trafficking and various other illegal activities.He also deliberately Dark web The market provides money laundering services to its users.
In addition to Helix, Harmon also runs the dark web search engine Grams, founded the digital asset wallet provider DropBit, and served as the CEO of Coin Ninja (a bitcoin media website), where Harmon advertised his bitcoin mixer.
As part of the confession, Harmon confiscated more than 4,400 BTC (valued at more than $200 million at current prices). The date of Harmon’s sentence has not yet been determined, and the Ohio native will face up to 20 years in prison and fines.
Ohio residents plead guilty to operating a dark web-based Bitcoin “mixer”, laundering more than $300 million in money https://t.co/eWFjY7jr6c
-Ministry of Justice (@TheJusticeDept) August 18, 2021
During the previous court session, Harmon tried to argue that BTC is not money, so he could not be found guilty. His reasoning is that although he did mix Bitcoin through his service, Bitcoin is not currency, which means he cannot be charged with money laundering. However, the presiding judge Beryl A. Howell be rejected That argument.
“The word’money’ […], Usually means a medium of exchange, a method of payment, or a store of value. Bitcoin is these things. indeed, [Harmon] He has never disputed that Bitcoin is currency as is usually used. He admitted that Bitcoin is a form of currency,” the judge ruled.
The officials have already set their sights on Helix and HarmonSince at least 2014, during the operation of the mixer, the Cybercrime Department of the Internal Revenue Service, the Belize Attorney General, the Belize National Police and the FBI have begun to cooperate in investigating Harmon and Helix. In the course of several years.
February 2020, FinCEN arrested Harmon Operates his Bitcoin mixer, but did not register it as a money service business. He was fined 60 million U.S. dollars for these allegations.
Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips emphasized the role of dark web mixers in helping criminals conceal their identities, noting:
“The dark web market and the distributors who sell opioids and other illegal drugs on it are a growing scourge. They may try to hide their identities and wash away millions of dollars in sales behind technologies such as Helix. But the department and its law enforcement partners will monitor their activities.”
In recent years, other Bitcoin mixing services have come under fire due to a series of regulatory actions in the United States.In April of this year, the operator Bitcoin fog Mixer was arrested in Los Angeles on charges of laundering approximately US$336 million of BTC in 10 years.