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#hacking | Ohio man arrested over darknet bitcoin laundering operation


Cryptocurrency tumbler service ‘Helix’ said to have laundered more than $300m over four-year period

An Ohio resident has been arrested and charged for his alleged role in the operation of ‘Helix’, a darknet-based bitcoin laundering service.

According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Larry Harmon, 36, of Akron was charged on February 11 with money laundering conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and conducting money transmission without a license.

Harmon operated Helix from 2014 to 2017, the indictment states.

As with other cryptocurrency tumblers, the dark web service allowed customers, for a fee, to send bitcoin to recipients in a manner that was designed to conceal them as the source.

Multimillion-dollar operation

As outlined in a DoJ news release this week, the three-count indictment alleges that Helix moved more than BTC350,000 – valued at over $300 million at the time of the transactions – on behalf of its customers.

“Helix allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of dollars of illicit narcotics proceeds and other criminal profits for darknet users around the globe,” said Brian Benczkowski, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“This indictment underscores that seeking to obscure virtual currency transactions in this way is a crime, and that the department can and will ensure that such crime doesn’t pay.”

According to the authorities, Helix partnered with AlphaBay to provide bitcoin laundering services for customers of what was, until it was seized by law enforcement in July 2017, one of the largest darknet marketplaces in operation.

Helix was linked to ‘Grams’, a darknet search engine also allegedly run by Harmon, the DoJ said.

READ MORE Cast no shadow: History of darknet market takedowns is littered with OpSec fails



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