Larry Dean Harmon, the Helix and Coin Ninja crypto-tumbling chief who in February was arrested for allegedly mixing bitcoin for criminals must pay $60 million in civil penalties, prosecutors at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) demanded Monday.
- Harmon's bitcoin mixing services allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars in crypto for darknet markets including Abraxas, Agora, Hansa, Hydra and Wall Street Market.
- Defunct former darknet giant AlphaBay is alleged to have forged particularly close ties to Helix. Prosecutors claim Helix laundered $27 million in bitcoin for AlphaBay by integrating its mixing services on site.
- Harmon's family has denied Larry had any ties to AlphaBay.
- Prosecutors allege Harmon was running an unregistered money services business in violation of the Banking Secrecy Act. They say he had a responsibility to file suspicious activity reports and systemically flouted U.S. money laundering laws.
- FinCEN hailed its penalty as the "first" action against a bitcoin mixer.
- Harmon's case is notable because it is the first time the U.S. Department of Justice explicitly called bitcoin mixing a "crime." Such a classification could mean far-reaching legal troubles for any service that uses obfuscation tactics to conceal bitcoin's publicly accessible path.
- Harmon also faces criminal proceedings in U.S. federal court.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.