300 million in bitcoin money is a risky bet: arrested, pleads guilty

Down with BTC mixing! – The unimaginable is finally happening: the boss of the defunct bitcoin mixer Helix pleads guilty because of a $300 million bitcoin (BTC

) laundering scheme. More proof that taking law enforcement for fools by trafficking with Bitcoin doesn’t pay!

4 Years of “Good” Service Ending

According to a Department of Justice (DoJ) press release

, the owner of bitcoin mixer Helix, Larry Dean Harmon, reportedly pleaded guilty on August 17.

Harmon had launched his bitcoin blending service in 2014, and it operated until 2017. His business allowed bitcoins sent to it to be mixed, making them – in principle, but not necessarily in practice –

harder to track.

As a result, Helix allegedly shuffled about 354,468 BTC, estimated to be worth more than $300 million at the time, but worth $15.9 billion now. In addition, U.S. authorities

said a significant percentage of the funds came from darknet markets.

The businessman allegedly worked with AlphaBay, a darknet marketplace giant that had operated between 2014 and 2017. AlphaBay and other darknet marketplaces allegedly used the defendant’s bitcoin mixing services to launder funds from illicit activities

.

The 36-year-old Ohio resident was later arrested in February 2020.

“Harmon admitted that he collaborated with darknet vendors to launder bitcoins related to drug trafficking and other illegal activities. “

Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office

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Heavy sentences fall for the accused

In October 2020, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

(FinCEN) had already sentenced Harmon to a fine of $60 million.

While Harmon’s sentencing date has yet to be announced, the defendant could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. In addition, the bitcoin mixer operator could face a $500,000 fine.

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This is the first time the owner of a bitcoin mixer has been sued. According to Calvin A. Shivers, deputy director of the FBI’s criminal investigation division, the agency is dedicated to catching criminals who think they can hide their ill-gotten gains by using services, such as Helix. Could this case be related to the developer of Monero (XMR) who was also recently arrested in the US

?

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