Helix unwound as bitcoin tumbler kingpin faces lengthy jail sentence
The operator of a cryptocurrency laundering service aimed toward cybercriminals and drug sellers who promote their wares on the dark web has pleaded responsible to laundering over $300 million.
Larry Dean Harmon, 38, of Akron in Ohio, confessed to working the Helix bitcoin ‘tumbler’ or ‘mixer’ service between 2014 and 2017.
The paid-for service allowed customers to ship cryptocurrency to recipients whereas obfuscating the supply or proprietor of the funds. Harmon admitted that Helix partnered with numerous infamous darknet marketplaces together with AlphaBay and Evolution to supply bitcoin-based cash laundering providers.
Helix was linked to and related to ‘Grams’, a darknet search engine additionally run by Harmon.
In accordance with a DoJ statement on the plea bargaining deal, Harmon marketed Helix to potential prospects as a option to conceal transactions from regulation enforcement.
In whole, Helix moved over 350,000 bitcoin – valued at greater than $300 million on the time of the related transactions – on behalf of consumers, with the most important quantity coming from darknet markets.
As a part of his plea bargaining deal, Harmon agreed to show over 4,400 bitcoin (value greater than $200 million at present market costs) in addition to different proceeds of crime, together with seized properties.
Harmon faces as much as 20 years in jail over his cash laundering offences at a future sentencing listening to, the date of which is but to be fastened.
The IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit and the FBI’s Washington Discipline Workplace investigated the case, assisted by different US federal and native regulation enforcement companies in addition to the Belize Ministry of the Legal professional Normal and the Belize Nationwide Police Division.
The investigation was coordinated with the Monetary Crimes Enforcement Community, which assessed a $60 million civil financial penalty in opposition to Harmon.
Additional background on the case and hyperlinks to the plea bargaining settlement might be discovered here.