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Ohio local arrested for using crypto to launder $300 million

By:
on Feb 14, 2020
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
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  • A resident of the US state of Ohio, Larry Harmon, was recently accused of running a major international money laundering business on the Dark Web.
  • Harmon launched a business called Helix, which he used for hiding illegal transactions from the government, on his clients' behalf.
  • He laundered over 350,000 BTC since 2014, but he was eventually discovered and arrested due to the government's growing expertise in the area.

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The US authorities recently arrested a citizen of Ohio due to accusations of him running an illegal money-laundering operation on the Dark Web. The individual in question, known as Larry Harmon (36), supposedly acted as an operator of an unlawful business called Helix.

According to the US Department of Justice’s report, published yesterday, February 13th, Harmon used his business to launder money and run a money transference venture, for which he had no licensing.

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Details about Harmon’s money-laundering operation

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According to reports, Harmon launched Helix back in 2014, and he ran his illegal service by using cryptocurrencies. The Department of Justice (DoJ) noted that his business, Helix, functioned as a Bitcoin ‘mixer.’

Such mixers, or tumblers, as they are also called, allow customers to send BTC to designated recipients in a way that hides the original owner of the coins. Of course, Harmon charged a fee for providing this service. He also attracted users by claiming that he can hide fund transfers from the government and its agencies.

In addition to that, he also operated another Dark Web service — a search tool known as Grams. As expected, such endeavors led Harmon to develop ties to other illegal businesses and offerings on the Dark Web. Helix itself laundered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs proceeds, as well as other criminal profits.

Harmon had clients who benefited from his services around the world, according to Brian Benczkowski, the DoJ Criminal Division’s Assistant Attorney General. The head of Criminal Investigation at the IRS, Don Fort, also commented on the case, stating that the purpose of Harmon’s operation was to hide criminal transactions from the law.

However, the authorities’ expertise in the area is growing and improving, which resulted in Harmon’s eventual discovery and capture. However, Harmon was certainly ambitious, and his goal was to become the go-to money laundered of the Dark Web. The authorities estimated that Harmon used Helix for transferring over 350,000 BTC in total, which was worth $300 million at the time. According to the current BTC price, the amount is at around $3.58 billion.

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