Larry Dean Harmon, founder and operator of the bitcoin mixing service Helix has pleaded responsible on Wednesday to money laundering charges. Harmon’s responsible plea follows the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) fining Harmon $60 million last year.
Helix Operator Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering, Conspiracy Charges
In keeping with a number of studies and a court-issued plea, Ohio resident Larry Harmon (38) pled responsible in a D.C. federal court on Wednesday for money laundering and conspiracy charges. Harmon detailed in court that he plans to cooperate with federal authorities after being accused of operating the bitcoin (BTC) mixing service known as Helix from 2014 to 2017.
U.S. prosecutors mentioned that more than $300 million in bitcoin was transferred into Helix and sent out in an anonymous style. Nonetheless, Charles Flood, the protection legal professional for Harmon claims that the operator used a “double-blind system” so he was totally unaware of how a lot of BTC was funneled by way of Helix.
“One fascinating factor about this case is there was a double-blind system Harmon had to arrange with Helix,” Flood mentioned in the federal courtroom on Wednesday. “Whereas he utterly acknowledges that he violated the law and was in fact laundering money and knew it was drug proceeds he doesn’t know the precise quantity laundered,” Flood added.
Sole Purpose of Bitcoin Mixer Was to Conceal Criminal Transactions, Feds Purpose to Seize 3 Properties
In a U.S. Justice Department press release issued on February 13, 2020, Don Fort, chief of IRS Criminal Investigation defined that it was Harmon’s intent to obfuscate funds. “The only real goal of Harmon’s operation was to hide felony transactions from law enforcement on the Darknet, and due to our growing expertise on this space, he couldn’t make good on that promise,” Fort remarked on the time.
The U.S. authorities is seeking the forfeiture of three specific properties Harmon owns in Ohio. The court-issued plea explains the federal authorities want Harmon’s two properties in Akron, Ohio, and the property he owns in Aurora, Colorado as properly.
“It was the objective of the conspiracy for the defendant. Harmon, and different co-conspirators to unlawfully enrich themselves by working a bitcoin money-laundering service which might conceal and promote illegal Darknet drug gross sales and different criminality,” the Justice Division’s paperwork notes.
Harmon additionally pleaded responsible to conspiracy charges which are tethered to the previous darknet market giant Alphabay. On or about November 8, 2016, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent working undercover “transferred 0.16 bitcoin from an Alphabay bitcoin wallet to Helix.” The agent then exchanged the BTC in a way so it was not “instantly traceable to Alphabay,” the court statement notes.