Owner of Helix Bitcoin Mixer is Guilty

by baaaawz

The Owner of Helix Bitcoin Mixer is Guilty of Laundering $300 Million

The unthinkable has finally come true: The owner of Helix Bitcoin mixer is guilty to the charges of laundering $300 million in Bitcoin. Here is another example of why you should not take law enforcement for fools when dealing with Bitcoin.

What is the Helix Bitcoin Mixer?

Larry Dean Harmon, the owner of Helix Bitcoin mixer, pleaded guilty on August 17, according to a Department of Justice (DoJ) press release.

Harmon started the Helix Bitcoin mixer in 2014, and it operated until 2017. The company that he owned allowed Bitcoins sent to it to be mixed up, which made it significantly more difficult – in principle, but not necessarily in practice – to trace the Bitcoins.

According to reports, Helix changed hands for about 354,468 Bitcoin, a sum that was worth more than $300 million at the time of its transfer as well as $15.9 billion today. Also, according to U.S. authorities, a significant portion of the funds involved was obtained through darknet markets.

During the time that the businessman ran the darknet exchange from 2014 to 2017, he is believed to have partnered up with AlphaBay, a market leader in the darknet. It has been alleged that AlphaBay, as well as several other darknet marketplaces, have used the Helix Bitcoin mixer services in order to launder funds from illegal activities.

After being arrested in February 2020, the 36-year-old former owner of the Helix Bitcoin mixer is now behind bars.

What is the Sentence of the Former CEO of the Helix Bitcoin Mixer?

In October 2020, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) had already fined Harmon $60 million.

The sentencing date for Harmon has yet to be announced; however, it has been estimated that the defendant could face a maximum duration of 20 years in prison. Moreover, the Helix Bitcoin mixer operator may face a fine of up to $500,000.

Furthermore, Harmon’s plea deal includes the forfeit of more than 4400 Bitcoins worth about $200 million as part of the case in which he entered a guilty plea.

FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division vs. Helix Bitcoin Mixer

The case is the first time in the history of Bitcoin mixers where a person has been prosecuted for their actions. Calvin A. Shivers, Deputy Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division, stated that the agency’s Criminal Investigations Division is interested in catching criminals who use services such as Helix to hide their ill-gotten gains.

Bitcoin mixers are currently being debated in the legal community as to whether they can be banned. Some mixers have been banned by authorities because they claimed that they were used to launder money, but there are a few examples of mixers that have never been banned.

In the current state of affairs, it appears that the most widely used mixing services are currently centralized, which also means that they could be shut down relatively easily by authorities if necessary. Nevertheless, several mixing services are still running as usual without being affected by the situation.

It is possible that decentralized mixing services would take their place if centralized mixing services were to be shut down. In this case, removing them would be a very difficult task.

There is an important point to remember, however, and that is not all users of services like the Helix Bitcoin mixer are criminals or hiding their drug money.

Why do People use Services like the Helix Bitcoin Mixer?

It is for your own safety and privacy that you would mix your coins so you could protect your privacy in a number of ways. Shortly, you may not want the world to know where you spend your money, how much you earn, or even if you have Bitcoin in your possession.

  • As an example, let us look at someone who has just received a raise. There is always the possibility that they do not want their landlord finding out about this since the landlord might consider it to be an opportunity to increase the rent.
  • Especially in a place where being gay is regarded as a crime, a homosexual may want to pay for pornographic material without anyone knowing it.
  • Pseudonymous journalists can receive payment for their articles without having to disclose who they are to the regime in their country.
  • Teenage girls from conservative families may find it difficult to purchase contraception without their parents knowing about it.
  • People with large amounts of Bitcoins want to keep their holdings a secret, knowing that they inevitably may become targets for kidnappings, extortion, and even worse.

It is quite literally impossible to list all the reasons why people want privacy. However, even if you are not concerned about privacy, you may wish to altruistically mix your coins so that those who are worried about privacy can be anonymous too.

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