The United States Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit to recover $60 million that was imposed on Larry Harmon, the operator of a bitcoin mixing service targeted by U.S. law enforcement in 2020. According to U.S. authorities, Harmon had operated an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
Violation of the Bank Secrecy Act
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly suing Larry Harmon, the founder of the crypto mixer Helix, to recover the $60 million fine imposed on him by regulators. According to a Reuters report, the fine, which was imposed in 2020, stems from Harmon’s alleged violation of the United States federal Bank Secrecy Act.
According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Harmon operated an unlicensed money-transmitting business. The business, according to U.S. regulators, enabled users to send virtual currencies anonymously. In 2021, Harmon reportedly pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge and said he would cooperate with federal authorities.
However, according to the Helix founder’s motion to dismiss filed with the U.S. District Court in 2021, Harmon claimed he had “never set out to break the law.” He insisted if he had known in 2014 — when he started Helix’s operations — that “operating a bitcoin tumbler was illegal, he never would have done it.”
Furthermore, the Helix mixer employed a “double-blind system,” which means Harmon had no idea how much BTC was sent through the mixing platform. As per the report, neither Harmon’s lawyer nor the representative of FinCEN had responded to media inquiries concerning the DOJ’s decision to sue.
Concerning the criminal case against Harmon, the report said the Helix founder had agreed to pay $311,000 as restitution. The report added that Harmon’s sentencing had been deferred pending his cooperation with the U.S. government.