Larry Dean Harmon, founder and operator of the Bitcoin mixing service Helix, pleaded guilty to money laundering allegations on Wednesday. Harmon’s admission of guilt follows the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen), which fined Harmon $ 60 million last year.
Helix operator pleads guilty to money laundering and conspiracy allegations
Larry Harmon, 38, who lives in Ohio, pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy in federal court in DC on Wednesday, according to multiple reports and a court plea. Harmon stated in court that he plans to work with federal agencies after he was accused of running a bitcoin mixing service (BTC) called Helix from 2014 to 2017.
US prosecutors said more than $ 300 million in bitcoin was transferred to Helix and sent anonymously. However, Harmon’s defense attorney Charles Flood claims that the operator used a “double-blind system” so he was unaware of how much BTC was being passed through Helix.
“One interesting thing about this case is that there was a double-blind system that Harmon set up with Helix,” Flood said in the federal courtroom on Wednesday. “Although he fully acknowledges that he broke the law and actually laundered money and knew it was drug receipts, he doesn’t know the exact amount that was laundered,” Flood added.
Bitcoin Mixer’s sole purpose was to hide criminal transactions, the Feds aim to seize 3 properties
In a February 13, 2020 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Don Fort, the head of the IRS Criminal Investigation, stated that Harmon’s intention was to hide funds. “The sole purpose of Harmon’s operation was to hide criminal transactions on the darknet from law enforcement, and our growing expertise in the area meant that he was unable to deliver on that promise,” noted Fort at the time.
The US government is demanding the forfeiture of three specific properties that Harmon owns in Ohio. The pleading issued by the court states that the federal government wants Harmon’s two properties in Akron, Ohio, and the property he owns in Aurora, Colorado.
“It was the aim of the conspiracy for the accused. Harmon and other co-conspirators to unlawfully enrich themselves by running a Bitcoin money laundering service that would disguise and promote illicit darknet drug sales and other illegal activities, ”Justice Department records read.
Harmon also pleaded guilty to conspiracy allegations linked to former darknet marketplace giant Alphabay. On or about November 8, 2016, an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) transferred “0.16 Bitcoin from an Alphabay Bitcoin wallet to Helix”. The agent then exchanged the BTC in such a way that it was not “directly traceable to Alphabay,” the court statement said.
What do you think of the founder and operator of Helix pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiracy for his bitcoin mixing service? Let us know what you think on this matter in the comments below.
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