Larry Dean Harmon, founder and operator of bitcoin mixing service Helix, pleaded guilty Wednesday to money laundering charges. Harmon’s guilt was followed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen), which fined Harmon $ 60 million last year.
Helix operator guilty of money laundering, conspiracy charges
According to various reports and a petition issued by the court, 38-year-old Ohio resident Larry Harmon pleaded guilty in federal court in DC on Wednesday to charges of money laundering and conspiracy. Harmon has detailed in court that he plans to cooperate with federal authorities after he is accused of operating a bitcoin mixing service (BTC) called Helix between 2014 and 2017.
US prosecutors say more than $ 300 million in bitcoin was transferred to Helix and sent anonymously. However, Charles Flood, Harmon’s defense attorney, claims that the trader used a “double-blind system,” so he did not know how much BTC controlled through Helix.
“One interesting thing about this case is that there was a double-blind system that Harmon created with Helix,” Flood said in the federal courtroom Wednesday. “While he fully admits that he broke the law and actually laundered money and knew it was drug proceeds, … he doesn’t know the exact amount of money laundered,” Flood added.
The sole purpose of Bitcoin Mixer was to hide criminal transactions, the feeds were aimed at capturing 3 properties
In a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on February 13, 2020, Don Fort, the IRS Chief of Criminal Investigation, explained that Harmon intended to cover the funds. “The sole purpose of Harmon’s operation was to conceal criminal transactions from law enforcement on the Darknet, and as we have growing experience in this area, he was unable to deliver on that promise,” Fort noted at the time.
The United States government is demanding the loss of three specific properties owned by Harmon in Ohio. The lawsuit issued by the court explains that the federal government wants Harmon’s two properties in Akron, Ohio, and his property in Aurora, Colorado.
“That was the purpose of the conspiracy for the defendants. Harmon and other conspirators are illegally enriching themselves by operating a bitcoin money laundering service that would conceal and promote the illegal sale of Darknet drugs and other illegal activities, ”the Justice Department documents state.
Harmon also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges linked to former darknet market giant Alphabay. On or around November 8, 2016, an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent “transferred 0.16 bitcoins from an Alphabay bitcoin wallet to Helix.” The broker then replaced the BTC in a way that was not “directly traceable to Alphabay,” the court said in a statement.
What do you think of the founder and operator of Helix who pleads guilty to money laundering and conspiracy for his bitcoin mixing service? Let us know what you think on this topic in the comment section below.
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