The U.S. Department of Justice announced that the 38-year-old Ohio man, Larry Dean Harmon, has pleaded guilty to laundering more than 350,000 Bitcoin through Darknet-based Bitcoin mixing service Helix from 2014 through 2017. Bitcoin mixers are used to help people anonymize their Bitcoin. Bitcoin mixers are famous among cybercriminals as it helps them anonymize their transactions. Regulators across the world are concerned about the increase of crypto in criminal activities.
Bitcoin mixers have helped people cover their tracks on the Bitcoin ledger.
Bitcoin mixers are used to help people anonymize their Bitcoin. In the past, this has helped people cover their tracks on the Bitcoin ledger since all transactions are recorded and immutable on the blockchain. As a result, mixers became a favorite for criminals. Harmon admitted in court that he knew that users mixed proceeds that were generated through drug trafficking and other various illegal activities. He also wittingly partnered with darknet markets to provide money laundering services to their users.
Harmon forfeited more than 4,400 BTC as part of the plea.
In addition to the bitcoin mixer Helix, Harmon operated the darknet search engine, Grams, founded the digital asset wallet provider, DropBit, and served as the CEO of Coin Ninja — a Bitcoin media site — where Harmon advertised his Bitcoin mixer. Harmon forfeited more than 4,400 BTC as part of the plea (worth more than $200 million at current prices). The date of Harmon’s sentencing is yet to be determined, with the Ohio native facing up to 20 years in prison plus fines. Earlier, Harmon had sought to argue that BTC was not money, so he could not be found guilty. The presiding Judge Beryl A. Howell, however, rejected that argument.