According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) from the United States, the man accused of operating the mixing service of bitcoin (BTC) Helix pleaded guilty to the charges of money laundering.
Bitcoin mixing services allow users to mix their cryptocurrencies with those of other users, which makes it almost impossible to identify the shipping addresses of these coins.
Larry Dean Harmon of Ohio has admitted to operating Helix between 2014 and 2017, in addition to the dark net search tool known as Grams.
Helix conspired with dark net markets including AlphaBay, Evolution and Cloud 9 to launder money. According to the DOJ, Helix handled more than 350,000 bitcoins, valued at over US$300 million, at the time of the transactions.
“Harmon has admitted that he conspired with dark net sellers to launder bitcoin obtained through drug trafficking and other illegal activities,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director of the Federal Department of Investigations unit (FBI) in Washington, in a statement.
“The guilty party’s statement made today demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to infiltrating and shutting down crypto-currency laundering networks that support cybercrime institutions.”
The DOJ filed the case against Harmon for the first time in February of this year. The Department coordinated the investigation with the Network for Combating Financial Crimes (FinCEN), which separately charged a fine of $60 million against Harmon for breaches of the Bank Secrecy Act through Helix.
With the guilty plea, Harmon will lose more than 4,400 bitcoins, which is more than $200 million today.
The accused is awaiting sentencing and could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, receive a parole term and a fine of $500,000 or double the value of the property involved in the transaction.
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