Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Sovrano

Helix Bitcoin Mixer operator charged for laundering over $300M worth of Bitcoin

An American was charged with money laundering while operating the dark web Helix Bitcoin mixer service between 2014 and 2017.
Larry Dean Harmon (36), from Akron, Ohio, was charged with laundering more than $310 million worth of Bitcoin while he was operating a Darknet-based cryptocurrency laundering service between 2014 and 2017.

According to three-count indictment unsealed on February 11 in the District of Columbia, the man was charged with money laundering conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and conducting money transmission without a D.C. license.

Harmon operated the Helix mixer service from 2014 to 2017. this means that its customers were paying a fee to send Bitcoin to designated recipients hiding the source of the transactions.

“According to the indictment, Harmon operated Helix from 2014 to 2017. Helix functioned as a bitcoin “mixer” or “tumbler,” allowing customers, for a fee, to send bitcoin to designated recipients in a manner that was designed to conceal the source or owner of the bitcoin.” reads the press release published by DoJ. “Helix was linked to and associated with “Grams,” a Darknet search engine also run by Harmon. Harmon advertised Helix to customers on the Darknet as a way to conceal transactions from law enforcement.”

Prosecutors revealed that the Helix service allowed to launder hundreds of millions of dollars of criminal profits for users in the Dark Web.

Harmon allegedly operated the dark web search engine Grams from April 2014 and the Helix Bitcoin tumbler from July 2014.

In November 2016, Harmon started a partnership with AlphaBay, the popular black market that was seized by authorities in July 2017.

According to the indictment, the Helix mixer was used to launder a total of at least around 354,468 Bitcoin (more than $300 million at the time of the transactions).

“The perceived anonymity of cryptocurrency and the Darknet may appeal to criminals as a refuge to hide their illicit activity,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy M. Dunham of the Criminal Division of the FBI Washington Field Office. “However, as this arrest demonstrates, the FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to bringing the illegal practices of money launderers and other financial criminals to light and to justice, regardless of whether they are using new technological means to carry out their schemes.”

If convicted, the man will be required to forfeit to the US any property, real or personal, involved in the offense.


source: securityaffairs.co

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