FinCEN Fines Early Bitcoin Mixer $60 Million for Money Laundering


FinCEN has announced a $60 million fine against Larry Dean Harmon for allegedly violating anti-money-laundering laws and running a business associated with darknet sites. This man was behind Helix and Coin Ninja.

October 20, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) fined financial firm Larry Dean Harmon $60 million on the 19th for providing Bitcoin (BTC) “mixing” services in violation of the law.

According to FinCEN, Harmon ran a dark web-linked website, Helix, which laundered fraudulently acquired Bitcoins and concealed their sources and owners. It provides a service that enhances anonymity, collects a fee from the user to send BTC to the specified address, deletes the user information after 7 days, and allows the user to manually delete the log after withdrawal.

Helix reportedly traded at least 356,000 BTC between June 2014 and December 2017, according to reports.

FinCEN fined Helix $60 million for violating Bank Secrecy Act

FinCEN points out that Helix did not comply with the US Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Helix does not have an anti-money laundering (AML) program and claims to have removed even the minimal amount of customer information it has collected, rather than collecting customer data for AML.

Helix didn’t even monitor suspected fraudulent transactions, making it difficult for FinCEN to fully understand the specific number of offending transactions.

Harmon also provided another service site, Coin Ninja, on its bulletin board site Reddit, claiming that it would help avoid the customer identification process.

Harmon was also the creator and administrator of the website Grams, which claims to be “Google on the Dark Web.” “Grams” was functioning as a search engine and information aggregation site for illegal products sold in the darknet market.

Is it the introduction of new virtual currency regulations?

FinCEN said in February this year that US officials are likely to enforce new cryptocurrency regulations in the near future.

Although no specific details were given, it is believed that the new regulation will be a joint initiative with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Huge money laundering even at popular banks

Cryptocurrencies are often pointed out to be linked to money laundering, but according to confidential documents leaked from FinCEN, even several major global banks have been suspiciously transferring more than 200 trillion yen over nearly 20 years.

As AtoZ Markets reported, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon have failed to block the flow of fraudulent funds, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has thoroughly investigated this document. The US authorities fined the banks for not being able to do so. Nonetheless, ICIJ points out that these financial institutions were profiting from fraudulent money transfers related to criminal networks.

Think we missed something? Let us know in the comment section below.

    Share Your Opinion, Write a Comment